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AUTOBIOGRAPHY 



OF 



LIEUT.-GEN. WINFIELD SCOTT, 



MEMOIRS 



LIEUT.-GENERAL SCOTT, LL.D. 



IN TWO VOLUMES 

VOLUME I. 



NEW YORK: 

9 

SHELDON & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS, 



335 BROADWAY, 
1864. 



ESTEBED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by 

WINFIELD SCOTT, 

In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 
District of New York. 



JOHN F. TROW, C. 8. WESTOOTT & Co., 

STEHEOTYPER, AND ELECTROTYPEH, PRINTERS, 

46, 48, & 50 Greene St., New York. 19 John St., N. Y 



CONTENTS. 



PAOR 

INTRODUCTION, . ix 



CHAPTER I. 

BIRTH PARENTAGE SCHOOLS COLLEGE, 



CHAPTER n. 
LAW STUDIES THE BAR TRIAL OF BURR, 

CHAPTER HI. 

CHANGE OF PROFESSION ADVENTURE AS A VOLUNTEER RETURN TO 

THE BAR ENTERS THE ARMY, 18 

CHAPTER IY. 

FOUR YEARS VACILLATION BETWEEN PEACE AND WAR THE BAR 

AND THE SWORD, 30 



iv Contents. 



CHAPTER V. 

PAGH 

WAR DECLARED DOUBLE PROMOTION MARCH TO CANADA, . . 49 



CHAPTER VI. 

NIAGARA FRONTIER CAPTURE OF WAR VESSELS BATTLE OF 

QUEENSTOWN A PRISONER OF WAR PAROLED, . . . 54 

CHAPTER VH. 

KINGSTON PRESCOTT MONTREAL QUEBEC SAILED FOR HOME 

GUT OF CANSO WASHINGTON, 69 

CHAPTER VIII. 

COLONEL AND ADJUTANT-GENERAL FORT GEORGE OGDENSBURG 

HOOP-POLE CREEK FRENCH MILLS, 86 

CHAPTER IX. 

REFLECTIONS ON PAST DISASTERS CALLED TO WASHINGTON 

BUFFALO CAMP OF INSTRUCTION CAMPAIGN OF 1814 OPENED, 110 

CHAPTER X. 

RUNNING FIGHT CHIPPEWA, 124 


CHAPTER XI. 

INVESTMENT OF FORTS BATTLE OF NIAGARA OR LUNDY S LANE, . 135 



Contents. v 

CHAPTER XH. 

PAGB 

HORS DX COMBAT PRINCETON COLLEGE PHILADELPHIA BALTI 
MORE WASHINGTON, 147 

CHAPTER XIII. 
REDUCTION OF THE ARMY VISIT TO EUROPE ENGLAND FRANCE, . 165 

CHAPTER XIV. 
ENGLAND LONDON BATH, 168 

CHAPTER XV. 

REFLECTIONS ON PEACE AND WAR THE CANKER ABOLITIONISM 

STATE RIGHTS NULLIFICATION REBELLION, . . . .175 

CHAPTER XVI. 



MARRIAGE RECEPTION OF SWORDS AND MEDAL, . . . 191 

CHAPTER XVII. 

TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT MILITARY INSTITUTES TACTICS DEATH 
OF GENERAL BROWN MACOMB PROMOTED ANIMATED CORRE 
SPONDENCE, 204 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

BLACK HAWK WAR CHOLERA IN THE ARMY INDIAN TREATIES 

ROMANTIC TALE, 217 



vi Contents. 

CHAPTER XIX. 

PAGB 

REJOINS HIS FAMILY ORDERED TO CHARLESTON NULLIFICATION 

INCIDENTS PEACE RESTORED, 233 

CHAPTER XX. 

TACTICS GENERAL REGULATIONS FLORIDA WAR CREEK WAR 

JACKSON S WAR UPON SCOTT COURT OF INQUIRY, . . /^258 

CHAPTER XXI. 

HONORS TENDERED BIDDLE FAMILY SPEECH OF R. BIDDLE, M. C., 

VINDICATING SCOTT JACKSON S MARTIAL LAW His DEATH, . 275 

CHAPTER XXII. 

PRESIDENT VAN BUREN FINE TEMPER CANADIAN AGITATIONS 
BURNING OF THE CAROLINE SCOTT SENT TO THE FRONTIER 
THE TURMOIL QUIETED SCOTT SENT TO REMOTE THE CHERO- 
KEES, 301 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

SCOTT ORDERED BACK TO BRITISH FRONTIERS TURMOIL RENEWED 

MAINE BOUNDARY, 331 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

POLITICS GENERAL-IN-CHIEF STOPS UNLAWFUL PUNISHMENTS 
ATTEMPTS TO ABOLISH HIS RANK AND TO REDUCE HIS PAY 
MR. ADAMS AND MR. C. J. INGERSOLL, 355 



Contents. vii 

CHAPTER XXV. 

PAGE 

LETTER ON SLAVERY TRACTS ON PEACE AND WAR MR. POLK 

PRESIDENT, .......... 370 

CHAPTER XXVI. 
WAR WITH MEXICO GENERAL TAYLOR, ...... 38 J 

CHAPTER XXVII. 

SCOTT ORDERED TO MEXICO VISITS CAMARGO RE-EMBARKS FOR 

VERA CRUZ, . . . , . . . . . .397 

CHAPTER XXVIII. 



SIEGE AND CAPTURE OF VERA CRUZ AND THE CASTLE OF SAN JUAN 
DE ULLOA, . . ; . . . . . - . . 

CHAPTER XXIX. 



BATTLE OF CERRO GORDO, JALAPA, PEROTE AND PUEBLA HALTS 

VISIT TO CHOLULA, ........ 480 

CHAPTER XXX. 

ADVANCE ON THE CAPITAL HALT AT AYOTLA RECONNAISSANCES 

SAN AUGUSTIN CONTRERAS, ....... 45!) 

CHAPTER XXXI. 



VICTORIES OF CONTRERAS SAN ANTONIO CHURUBUSCO, . .( 477 



viii Contents. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

PAGH 

AJRMISTICE NEGOTIATIONS HOSTILITIES RENEWED BATTLE OF 

MOLINOS DEL REY CAPTURE OF CHAPDLTEPEC AND MEXICO, . 603 

CHAPTER XXXIH. 

BRILLIANT ALLUSION TO THE CAMPAIGN RETALIATORY MEASURES 
MARTIAL LAW SAFEGUARDS PROCLAMATION DEFENCE OF 
PUEBLA, 638 

CHAPTER XXXIV. 

QUESTION OF FREE QUARTERS SYSTEM OF FINANCE SPREAD OF 

THE TROOPS, 550 

CHAPTER XXXV. 

SUPPRESSION OF OUTLAWS PEACE COMMISSIONER TREATY SIGNED 

MEXICAN OVERTURES COURT OF INQUIRY, . . . .574 

CHAPTER XXXVI. 

RECEPTIONS AT NEW YORK AND ELIZABETH OTHERS DECLINED 

BAD HEALTH THANKS OF CONGRESS, ETC., . . 535 



INTRODUC TION. 



THE English language is singularly barren of auto 
biographies or memoirs by leading actors in the public 
events of their times. Statesmen, diplomatists, and 
warriors on land and water, who have made or mould 
ed the fortunes of England or the United States, have 
nearly all, in this respect, failed in their duty to pos 
terity and themselves. Their speeches, state papers, 
despatches, reports, letters, and orders remain, indeed, 
fragmentary monuments of their patriotic deeds ; but 
the Republican Ludlow, the Roundhead Whitelocke, 
Lord Clarendon, Bishop Burnet, and Sir William 
Temple,* five contemporaries, alone, of the Anglo- 

* Dean Swift, the literary executor of Temple, cites, in the preface to 
a part of his author s memoirs, an absurd objection that had been made to 



x Introduction. 

Saxon race, are exceptions, unless we add Swift, a sixth 
contemporary. This friend and counsellor of St. John 
and Harley, brought them into power (and, according 
to Dr. Johnson, dictated public opinion to England), 
mainly by a pamphlet The Conduct of the Allies 
that broke down the Godolphin ministry, supported 
by that eminent man, Lord Somers, and the wonderful 
series of Marlborough s victories. The masterly narra 
tive The Last Four Years of Queen Anne, seems to 
complete Swift s claim to a place in the small category 
of makers and writers of history.* 

another part, earlier published, viz. : that the " author speaks too much 
of himself," and replies : " I believe those who make [this] criticism do 
not well consider the nature of memoirs. Tis to the French (if I mistake 
not) we chiefly owe that manner of writing, and Sir W. T. is not only 
the first, but, I believe, the only Englishman (at least of any consequence) 
who has ever attempted it. The best French memoirs are writ by such 
persons as were principal actors in those transactions they pretend to re 
late, whether of wars or negotiations. Those of Sir W. T. are of the same 
nature." Hence the necessity of naming himself at every turn otherwise 
his narrative would have been like Shakspeare s Prince of Denmark 
the part of Hamlet left out ! 

* It is remarkable that the Vanity of Human Wishes has, merely to 
illustrate the uudesirableness of old age, hitched in a couplet the great 
master of the sword and master of the pen mentioned in the text : 

" From Marlborough s eyes the streams of dotage flow, 
And Swift expires a driv ler and a show." 



Introduction. xi 

It was otherwise with very many eminent men 
of antiquity. Moses and Joshua, among the sacred 
writers, belonged to the category of great public lead 
ers. Xenophon saved the ten thousand Greeks who 
were in the expedition of Cyrus, and left us a most 
graceful narrative of his services. Cato, the censor, 
drew up the history of the first and second Punic wars, 
in which he served. Sylla, who passed through un 
paralleled scenes of blood and horror, found time to 
write twenty-two Books of Commentaries , and those 
of Caesar, having reached the art of printing, cannot 
now fail to live forever. Polybius, too, was an actor 
in many of the scenes we have from his historic pen. 
Coming down to modern times, France and Germany 
abound in autobiographies and memoirs (pour servir a 
Vhistoire) from the hands of the makers of history 
Sully, De Thou, De Eetz, St. Simon, Yillars, Freder 
ick the Great, the two Segurs (father and son), Gohier, 
Napoleon, Suchet, Savary, St. Cyr, Chateaubriand, 
Lamartine, Talleyrand, etc., etc., etc. 

If, however, such writers had the great advantage 
of a personal knowledge of their respective subjects, 
they were, on the other hand, beset, from the begin 
ning to the end, with some counterbalancing diflicul- 



xii Introduction. 

ties: 1. Tlie danger of self-neglect, in the way of just 
praise or of just reproach, and 2. Unworthy partiali 
ties and jealousies for or against their co-actors. 

"I place my name," says Cardinal de E-etz to a 
friend, " at the head of this work [Memoirs of his own 
times], in order to lay myself under the strongest obli 
gation not to diminish and not ^o magnify the truth in 
anything. Yain-glory and false delicacy are the two 
rocks which the greater number of those who have 
written their own lives, have not been able to avoid. 
President de Thou, in the last generation, steered clear 
between them, and, among the ancients, Csesar made 
no miscarriage. You, without doubt, will do me the 
justice to believe that I would not allege those great 
names, on an occasion personal to myself, if sincerity 
were not the sole virtue in which we are permitted 
nay commanded to equal the most illustrious exam 
ples." 

In Dr. Middleton s Life of Cicero, the embarrass 
ments of that great orator and writer, on a similar 
occasion, are thus presented : 

"In this year, also, Cicero wrote that celebrated 
letter * to Lucceius, in which he presses him to attempt 

* Epis. Fam. 12. 



Introduction. xiii 

the history of his transactions. Lncceius was a man 
of eminent learning and abilities, and had just finished 
the history of the Italic and Marian civil wars ; with 
intent to carry it down through his own times, and, in 
the general relation, to include, as he had promised, a 
particular account of Cicero s acts ; but Cicero, who 
was pleased with his style and manner of writing, 
labors to engage him, in this letter, to postpone the 
design of his continued history, and enter directly on 
that separate period, from the beginning of his consul 
ship to his restoration, comprehending Catiline s con 
spiracy and his own exile. He observes, that this 
short interval was distinguished with such a variety of 
incidents, and unexpected turns of fortune, as furnished 
the happiest materials both to the skill of the writer 
and the entertainment of the reader; that when an 
author s attention was confined to a single and select 
subject, he was more capable of adorning it and dis 
playing his talents, than in the wide and diffusive field 
of general history. But if he did not think the facts 
themselves worth the pains of adorning, that he would 
yet allow so much to friendship, to affection, and even 
to that favor which he had so laudably disclaimed in 
his prefaces, as not to confine himself scrupulously to 



XIY Introduction. 

the strict laws of history and the rules of truth. That, 
if he would undertake it, he would supply him with 
some rough memoirs, or commentaries, for the founda 
tion of his work; if not, that he himself should be 
forced to do what many had done before him write 
his own life a task liable to many exceptions and 
difficulties ; where a man would necessarily be re 
strained by modesty, on the one hand, or partiality, on 
the other, either from blaming or praising himself so 
much as he deserved. 3 r 

Pliny, the younger, another accomplished orator 
and writer unwilling to take the risk of portraying 
himself also, but in terms rather less unmanly, in 
voked the historic aid of a friend. 

In a letter * to Tacitus, he says : " I strongly pre 
sage (and I am persuaded I shall not be deceived) that 
your histories will be immortal. I ingenuously own, 
therefore, I so much the more earnestly wish to find a 
place in them. If we are generally careful to have our 
persons represented by the best artists, ought we not 
to desire that our actions may be related and cele 
brated by an author of your distinguished abilities? 
In view of this, I acquaint you with the following 

* Letter 33, Book vii. 



Introduction. xv 

affair, which, though it cannot have escaped your at 
tention, as it is mentioned in the journals of the public, 
still I acquaint you with it, that you may be the more 
sensible how agreeable it will be to me, that this action, 
greatly heightened by the hazard which attended it, 
should receive an additional lustre from the testimony 
of so bright a genius." (Pliny here gives some rough 
notes of the public transaction in question, with a 
speech of his which settled the matter, and thus pro 
ceeds:) "This short speech was extremely well re 
ceived by those who were present; as it soon after 
ward got abroad and was mentioned by everybody 
with general applause. The late emperor, Nerva 
(who, though at that time in a private station, yet in 
terested himself in every meritorious action which con 
cerned the public), wrote an admirable letter to me 
upon the occasion, wherein he not only congratulated 
me, but the age, which had produced an example so 
much in the spirit (as he was pleased to call it) of 
better days. But, whatever the fact be, it is in your 
power to heighten and spread the lustre of it : though 
far am I from desiring you would, in the least, exceed 
the bounds of reality. History ought to be guided by 
strict truth ; and worthy actions require nothing more. 



xvi Introduction. 

" Happy I deem those to be whom the gods have 
distinguished with the abilities either of performing 
such actions as are worthy of being related, or of re 
lating them in a manner worthy of being read; but 
doubly happy are they who are blessed with both of 
those uncommon endowments." PuNy (to Tacitus\ 
Book vi., Letter 16. 

In general terms, applicable to all contemporary 
history and biography, but, mainly, with special refer 
ence to men of letters, Dr. Johnson, in his Life of 
Addison, finely touches the same difficulties : 

"The necessity of complying with times, and of 
sparing persons, is the great impediment of biography. 
History may be formed from permanent monuments 
and records; but lives can only be written from per 
sonal knowledge, which is growing every day less, and 
in a short time is lost forever. What is known can 
seldom be immediately told; and when it might be 
told, it is no longer known. The delicate features of 
the mind, the nice discriminations of character, and 
the minute peculiarities of conduct, are soon obliter 
ated; and it is surely better that caprice, obstinacy, 
frolic, and folly, however they might delight in the 
description, should be silently forgotten, than that, by 



Introduction. xvii 

wanton merriment and unseasonable detection, a pang 
slioidd be given to a widow, a daughter, a brother, or 
a friend. As the process of these narratives is now 
bringing me among my contemporaries, I begin to feel 
myself walking upon ashes under which the fire is not 
yet extinguished, and coming to the time of which it 
will be proper rather to say nothing that is false, than 
all that is true. " * 

In the Edinburgh Review, January, 1850, on Lam- 
artine s History of the French Revolution of 1848 
when a Government was extemporized, with the au 
thor at its head there is a passage so much to my 
purpose that I cannot resist placing it in this intro 
duction : 

" The most valuable materials for the history ol 
great events are undoubtedly afforded by the auto 
biographies of those who took a distinguished part 
in them. They perceived the importance of details 
which a bystander would have neglected. They knew 
what was proposed and what was decided at secret 

* In these reserves, Johnson evidently had in view mere authors, not 
public functionaries persons taking upon themselves high offices, and, 
therefore, amenable to historic exposure and censure for great personal 
defects and miscarriages. 



xviii Introduction. 

councils; they can tell us what they themselves did, 
and, what is often very different, what they intended. 
Such narratives, however, are comparatively rare : And 
those which we possess have generally been written 
long after the events when the recollections of the 
narrator had lost their first vividness; while their 
publication is often delayed still longer, until the con 
temporaries of the writer have passed away, perhaps 
until he has passed away himself, so that much of the 
restraint, which the liability to denial and exposure 
would have imposed on his inventions or on his sup 
pressions, has been removed. The memoirs of M. de 
Talleyrand, for example which we are only to have 
twenty years hence, will not be received with the con 
fidence which they would have deserved if they had 
been published in his lifetime, or even immediately 
after his death : And one of the great merits of M. de 
Lamartine s work is its freedom from these objections. 
It must have been written within a few months of the 
events which it relates ; and is published while almost 
every other actor in that great drama can protest 
against its statements or supply its omissions. On 
the other hand, of course, this proximity has its incon 
veniences. M. de Lamartine cannot feel as impartial- 



Introduction. 



Xli 



Ij as if his work had treated of times long since passed ; 
or speak as boldly as if it had been intended to be post 
humous. In following the course of this narrative, we 
accordingly often wish for names where we find mere 
designations, and for details where we find only gen 
eral statements. Much is obviously concealed from us 
which it would have been useful to know, but danger 
ous to tell. Undeserved praise, too, appears to be fre 
quently awarded ; and deserved blame to be still more 
frequently withheld. These objections, however, are 
far more than counterbalanced by the freshness and 
vivacity of the narrative: a freshness and vivacity 
which even as great a poet as M. de Lamartine could 
not have given to it, if he had written it ten years 
later." 

In all narratives, the art of selecting, rejecting, and 
grouping incidents, is one of difficult attainment, and 
if not attained, length, tediousness, and confusion are 
inevitable. Truth may be lost under a cloud of details 
and multiplicity of words, as well as by material sup 
pressions and inventions. Indeed, the size of a book, 
on any given subject, will always be in the inverse 
ratio of the talent and the pains bestowed upon it. In 
a brillianf essay on history in general Edinburgh 



xx Introduction. 

Review, May, 1828 * there are some fine passages on 
this subject. I can extract but one : " If history were 
written thus [giving, without judicious selection, all 
that was done and said] the Bodleian library would 
not contain the transactions of a week. What is told 
in the fullest and most accurate annals, bears an infi 
nitely small proportion to what is suppressed. The 
difference between the copious work of Clarendon and 
the account of the civil wars in the abridgment of 
Goldsmith, vanishes, when compared with the immense 
mass of facts respecting which both are equally silent." 

I have drawn up this chart marked with great 
names and solemn monitions to present just charac 
teristics of autobiography for my own guidance per 
haps, condemnation, in case of failure in the execu 
tion of the task (already too long delayed) indicated in 
the title. 

Napoleon, on his abdication, turned to the wrecks 
of his old battalions about him, and said : " I will 
write the history of our campaigns." Yindictively re 
called from Mexico, but not till the enemy had been 
crushed and a peace dictated, Napoleon s declaration 

* By Macaulay, but omitted, with others, in his edition of his Essays, 
London, 1843. 



Introduction. xxi 

and memoirs recurred to me, and I resolved, in my 
humble sphere, to write also. But circumstances (first 
bad health and next incessant occupations at Washing 
ton, etc.) have, till now, suspended my purpose. In 
the meantime I have carefully abstained from reading 
a line published on the Mexican campaign, lest I might 
be provoked to seize the pen before having sufficient 
strength or leisure for literary composition. 

It will be seen that I aspire not to the dignity of a 
historian, but simply offer contemporary memoirs for 
the use of some future Prescott or Macaulay; and 
making no pretension to the gifts and graces of any 
of the great writers I have cited, I feel myself, on the 
other hand, to be superior to a few of them, in impar 
tiality, candor, and firmness. 

It is comparatively easy to build up a big book 
always an evil. It is only necessary to pile line upon 
line, document on document, Pelion on Ossa and 
bulk is obtained. An author s difficulties, both of 
head and hand, as intimated above, lie in judicious 
culling and arranging the compression of materials. 
My labors are now to be commenced, and in trying to 
fill the outline I have sketched, I hope not to lose my 
self in verbosity, on the one hand, nor fail to give neces- 



XX11 



Introduction. 



sary development to interesting events on the other. 
As Macaulay has remarked, the Reverend Dr. ]Sf ares, 
professor of modern history in the university of Oxford, 
has attained the full Brobdignagian dimensions in the 
Life of Lord Burleigh, Elizabeth s treasurer : two thou 
sand closely printed quarto pages, fifteen hundred 
inches in cubic measure, and sixty pounds avoirdu 
pois weight! Montesquieu s Lettres Persons, the 
smallest of books found in libraries, is, perhaps, the 
more perfect by reason of its smallness. Abounding 
in wit, humor, and satire, as well as in profound views 
of morality and politics, it, and Nares s work, though 
in different paths, are opposite illustrations of the apo 
thegm already quoted. 

Undertaking an humbler subject, though one of 
numerous incidents, I shall attempt the juste milieu 
attained by Yoltaire in the Life of Charles XII. of 
Sweden; by Southey in the Life of Nelson, and by 
Bell in the Life of Canning. To be considered an 
approach to such models in the single power of com 
pression, would satisfy the ambition of my unpractised 

hand. 

WINFIELD SCOTT. 

WEST POINT, N. Y., July 6, 1863. 



MEMOIRS, ETC. 



OHAPTEE I. 

% 

BIRTH PARENTAGE SCHOOLS COLLEGE. 

ACCORDING to the family Bible, I was born June 
13, 1786, on the farm which I inherited, some four 
teen miles from Petersburg, Yirginia. My parents, 
"William Scott and Ann Mason, both natives of the 
same neighborhood, intermarried in 1780. "William s 
father, a Scotchman, of the clan Buccleuch, was the 
younger son of a small landed proprietor, and taking 
part with the Pretender, escaped from the field of 
Culloden (1746) to Bristol, whence, by the aid of a 
merchant and kinsman, he was smuggled on board of 
1 



2 Parentage. 

a ship bound to Yirginia, and buried himself in that 
colony before 1747, the date of the general amnesty. 

The fugitive crossed the Atlantic with nothing but 
a small purse borrowed from his Bristol cousin, and a 
good stock of Latin, Greek, and Scotch jurisprudence. 
He had now to study a new code the English com 
mon law ; but soon attained considerable eminence at 
the bar ; married late, and, in a year or two, died. 

In my sixth year, I lost my father a gallant lieu 
tenant and captain in the Revolutionary army, and 
a successful farmer. Happily, my dear mother was 
spared to me eleven years longer. And if, in my now 
protracted career, I have achieved anything worthy of 
being written ; anything that my countrymen are like 
ly to honor in the next century it is from the lessons 
of that admirable parent that I derived the inspira 
tion.* Perhaps filial piety may be excused for adding 

* I still often recall, with pain, that I once disobeyed my mother a 
pain mitigated, however, by the remembrance of the profitable lesson that 
ensued. Being, on a Sunday morning, in my seventh year, ordered to get 
ready for church, I, in a freak, ran off and tried to hide myself. Pursued 
and brought back by a servant, a switch was sent for. Seeing that con 
dign punishment was imminent, and that the instrument was a shoot torn 
from a Lombardy poplar, the culprit luckily quoted this verse from St 
Matthew: "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit [should] be 



Ancestral Kindred. 3 

a few sentences more on the parents and collateral 
kindred of this lady the daughter of Daniel Mason 
and Elizabeth his wife, the only child of John Win- 
field, probably the wealthiest man in the colony. The 
latter survived his daughter, and dying intestate, about 
1TT4, WinfiM Mason, the brother of Mrs. Ann Scott, 
took, by descent, as the law then stood in favor of the 
eldest male heir, the whole of the landed estate of the 
grandfather besides sharing equally in the personal 
property with his two sisters. I, his namesake, stood 
nearly from my birth, the principal devisee, in an un- 
cancelled will that I read after my uncle s death, of 
nearly the whole of that large estate; but marriage 
and the birth of a child, very properly, abrogate a 
testament of a prior date ; and Winfield Mason, 
though he married very late in life, left several chil 
dren. His wife was the daughter of a near neighbor 
and very remarkable man Dr. Greenway, who well 
deserves a separate memoir from an abler pen ; but of 



hewn down and cast into the fire." The quotation was from the regular 
lesson I had read to my mother a short time before. The rod was spared ; 
but the pious mother seized the occasion to make her son comprehend 
that, beginning with the sin of disobedience, I, myself, might soon become 
a tree fit to be hewn down, etc. 



4: Ancestral Kindred. 

whom it is not known that even the briefest sketch 
has ever been published, although he has now been 
dead some seventy years.* His descendants being 
without ambition or particular distinction, and early 
dispersed, the sources of a full biography in this case 
are, probably, forever lost. A rescue from entire ob 
livion is, however, here attempted upon a boyish mem 
ory that has rarely failed; for I perfectly recall the 
white head and florid face of the doctor as late as 1793, 
when he must have been fourscore and ten, and in 
whose library, in the time of the son, I spent many 
profitable hours. From the family and neighborhood 
traditions, annotations on books, and unpublished 
writings it, however, may be safely said that James 
Greenway was born just within the English line, on 
the borders of Scotland, and inherited his father s trade 
that of a weaver. . Genius, however, stimulated by 
ambition, is difficult to suppress. The weaver boy, in 
a free school, over the border, contrived to make him 
self acquainted with the Greek grammar, and to be 
come a better Latin scholar languages which, with 
French and Italian, he cultivated, laboriously, through 

* He may be noticed in Barton s Elements of Botany, and perhaps by 
European savans. 



Ancestral Kvndred. 5 

the greater part of his long life, as was evident from 
notes on his Homer, Horace, Pliny the naturalist, 
Rabelais, Dante, etc., etc. all originals. He early 
migrated to Yirginia, where he wrought at his humble 
craft while preparing for a license to practise medicine, 
by which, combined with extensive milling operations, 
he amassed an ample fortune. His professional repu 
tation brought him patients from a wide circumference, 
but, as he became rich, he gradually withdrew from 
the practice of medicine, and gave himself up to the 
culture of polite literature and natural history, par 
ticularly botany, and left a hortus siccus of some forty 
folio volumes, in which all the more interesting plants, 
etc., of Yirginia and North Carolina, were described in 
classical English and Latin. His success, in that de 
partment and others of science, procured for him 
honorary memberships in several European Societies, 
and an extensive correspondence with Linnaeus, which, 
with a presented portrait of the great Swedish natural 
ist, were long preserved in the family library. Confi 
dent memory, at this distance of time and place, can 
add only a few other particulars to illustrate the doc 
tor s great versatility of parts and pride in founding a 
family. 



6 School Days. 

Living some twenty-odd miles from the nearest 
market town (Petersburg), no musical teacher could be 
hired by him. Hence, when the first daughter ap 
proached her teens, the doctor, after possessing himself 
of a guitar and harpsichord (pianos were yet unknown) 
had first to instruct himself in the use of their strings, 
which was the less difficult as he was, earlier, a scien 
tific flutist and violinist; next he had to impart the 
same lesson to that daughter, laying her under the in 
junction not to marry until she had done as much for 
the next sister. In this way the whole of a numerous 
family were made highly musical the father being the 
instructor also of the only son in the use of the flute 
and violin. 

My school and college days were marked by no ex 
traordinary success and no particular failure. There 
was no want of apprehension ; but the charms of idle 
ness or pleasure often prevailed over the pride of 
acquisition. Still, if I were not always the leader of 
classes, I was never far behind, and, as a summary of 
iny whole life, it may be added, that a certain love of 
letters sometimes amounting to a passion has kept 
my mind in constant health and in the way of progress. 
One of my earlier schoolmasters James Hargrave a 



School Days. 7 

Quaker, labored hard to curb my passions and to mould 
my character to usefulness and virtue. This was in my 
twelfth and thirteenth years, at boarding school. It 
was in defence of this excellent man, of very small 
stature, that the pupil first discovered, some six years 
later, that he already possessed a great power of arm ; 
for, turning a corner, at a public gathering, he found 
the non-combatant, on a charge of running (as county 
land surveyor) a false dividing line, undergoing a se 
vere handling by a half-drunken bully. A single blow 
brought him to the ground, stunned, and nearly sobered. 
Being allowed to rise, he advanced upon his assailant. 
The Quaker, true to his principles, jumped between, 
and finding his friend the more belligerent party, 
seized and so encumbered him, that the bully partially 
hit him several times, when, by a sudden movement, 
the Quaker was thrown off and the bully again floored. 
The noise caused a rush of the crowd to the scene, 
where learning the original cowardly attack, it cost 
the Quaker and his pupil their greatest effort to save 
the bully from further punishment and perhaps death.* 

* On visiting home after the War of 1812- 15, I met my friend, Har- 
grave, at the scene of the above affray. The greeting, on one side, was 
quakerist : " Friend Winfield, I always told thee not to fight ; but as thou 
wouldst fight, I am glad that thou were nt beaten." 



8 School Days. 

Another and a more distinguished teacher James 
Ogilvie, a Scotchman, rich in physical and intellectual 
gifts is entitled to notice at the hands of a pupil. 

Mr. Ogilvie professed to have a special call to the 
instruction of youth, and always urged upon his pupils 
to give two or three years each to the same pursuit on 
the reciprocal obligation of imparting a great benefit, 
and for the further reason that no one so thoroughly 
masters a subject as he who obliges himself to teach it 
methodically. 

His first high school was on the Eappahannock ; 
the last in Richmond. I was a year with him in the 
latter, just before entering college. Here were taught, 
besides the ancient classics, rhetoric, Scotch meta 
physics, logic, mathematics, and political economy 
several of them by lecture. Most of the pupils were 
approaching manhood ; but as too much was attempted 
within a limited time, by republican short cuts to 
knowledge, it is feared that all who entered sciolists, 
left the school without the ballast of learning. 

Mr. O., always eccentric, being an opium eater, 
often exhibited, before the doses became too frequent, 
phases of preternatural brightness. His last few years 
in America, before returning home to claim a peerage, 



College Life. 9 

were spent as an itinerant lecturer. Though a wel 
come guest everywhere, he took up collections to 
defray travelling expenses. He thus declaimed, from 
a carefully prepared rostrum, several brilliant compo 
sitions of his own, formed on the model of Cicero, with 
other illusory accompaniments the dress, the gestures, 
the organ swell, and dying fall of the great Roman 
orator. They were magnificent specimens of art ; only 
the art was too conspicuous. 

The student, now waxing fast into manhood, passed, 
in 1805, to William and Mary College, where, instead 
of relying on the superficialities of his high schools, he 
should have entered years before, and have worked his 
way regularly through. This blunder has been felt all 
his life. The branches of knowledge selected for his 
new studies were chemistry, natural and experimental 
philosophy, and the common law. These he pursued 
with some eagerness and success ; as also civil and in 
ternational law the bar being looked to as a profes 
sion, and, at the same time, the usual road to political 
advancement. 

This was the spring tide of infidelity in many parts 
of Europe and America. At school and college, most 

bright boys, of that day, affected to regard religion as 
l* 



10 College Life. 

base superstition, or gross hypocrisy such was the 
fashion. Bishop Madison, President of William and 
Mary College, contributed not a little, within his sphere, 
by injudicious management, to the prevalent evil. It 
was his pious care to denounce to the new comers cer 
tain writings of Hume, Yoltaire, Godwin, Helvetius, 
etc., etc., then generally in the hands of seniors. These 
writings the good bishop represented as sirens, made 
perfectly seductive by the charms of rhetoric. Curi 
osity was thus excited. Each green youth became im 
patient to try his strength with so much fascination; 
to taste the forbidden fruit, and, if necessary, to buy 
knowledge at wliatever cost. 



CHAPTER II. 

LAW STUDIES THE BAK TRIAL OF BURR. 

BEING my own master, since the death of my mother, 
I next transferred myself, in my nineteenth year, from 
college to the law office, in Petersburg, of David Rob 
inson, Esquire, a very learned scholar and barrister, 
originally imported from Scotland, as a tutor, by my 
grandfather. The young man, born a generation too 
late to come under the ferule of the family pedagogue, 
was now affectionately claimed as a law pupil * by this 

* Mr. Robinson, in my time, had but two other students in his office 
Thomas Ruffin and John F. May. The first of these and the autobiographer 
did not chance to meet from 1806 to 1853, a period of forty-seven years, 
when Mr. R., Chief Justice of North Carolina, came to New York as a lay 
member of the General Protestant Episcopal Convention. The greeting 
between them was boyishly enthusiastic. The chief justice, at the table 
of the soldier, said : " Friend Scott, it is not a little remarkable, that of the 
three law students, in the same office, in 1805 and 1806 all yet in good 
preservation our friend May has long been at the head of the bar in 



12 Burfs Trial. 

veteran of tlie bar, who, living, down to 1833, in the 
practice of all the charities of life toward high and 
low, within his sphere, is likely to have continued to 
him a great professional longevity by his able reports 
of the debates in the Virginia Convention on the adop 
tion of the Federal Constitution, and the trial for high 
treason of ex-Viee-President Aaron Burr. 

I had just ridden my first circuit, as an incipient 
man of law, when, like a vast multitude of others, in 
cluding the flower of the land, I hastened up to Rich 
mond to witness a scene of the highest interest. Aaron 
Burr, of the city of New York, a distinguished officer 
of the Revolution ; at the bar and in politics, first the 
rival, and then, in a duel, the murderer of Alexander 
Hamilton ; an ex-Yice-President of the United States, 
and, before, an equal competitor with Thomas Jeffer 
son in many anxious ballotings in the House of Repre- 

Southern Virginia ; I long at the head of the bench in North Carolina, 
and you, the youngest, long at the head of the United States Army ! 
The last that I saw of this most excellent man, always highly conservative, 
he was a member of the Peace Convention that met in Washington in 
the spring of 1861. Had his sentiments, the same as Crittenden s, pre 
vailed, we should now (July, 1863) have in the thirty-four States fewer by 
several millions of widows, orphans, cripples, bankrupts, and deep mourn 
ers to sadden the land. Judge Maj . fortunately for him, died before the 
commencement of this horrid war. 



Burr s Trial. 13 

sentatives for the Presidency was now to be tried for 
high treason, and, if found guilty, to receive a traitor s 
doom. This was the great central figure below the 
bench. There he stood, in the hands of power, on the 
brink of danger, as composed, as immovable, as one of 
Canova s living marbles. Party spirit, out of court, 
had taken possession of the case, the factions having 
changed sides. It was President Jefferson who directed 
and animated the prosecution, and hence every Repub 
lican clamored for execution. Of course, the Federalists, 
forgetting Hamilton the murdered Hamilton, emi 
nently qualified to be considered great among the 
greatest of any age or country compacted themselves 
on the other side. The counsel for the defence were 
equal to the great occasion. Luther Martin, a signer 
of the Declaration of Independence, was, in himself, 
another Yiner s abridgment of the law in twenty folio 
volumes. The keen, the accomplished John Wick- 
ham was always ready with learning, eloquence, wit, 
logic, or sarcasm, as the case required. Few men ever 
entered an arena so well armed. Benjamin Botts, just 
emerging from the provincial bar, also made his mark 
at this trial. With little gesture, and scarce a figure 
of speech conforming to Swift s notion of a good 



14: Burr s Trial. 

style " proper words in proper places " Mr. B. 
scarcely stood second to anybody in general power. 
Shrinking from no difficulty, his severe analysis shat 
tered and dissolved the most knarled subjects, and 
then, with a driving logic, he sent home the main point 
in debate to the conviction of all hearers. "With a fine, 
manly head, and soft manners in private, there was, 
when he rose to speak, an imposing solemnity on his 
brow, and a fearful earnestness of look such as more 
recently distinguished the Scotch Presbyterian minis 
ter, Edward Irving, in his London Chapel.* And yet 
there was another brilliant star in this forensic galaxy. 
William Wirt, who in his previous limited circle had 
not been without briefs and admirers, now stood for 
the first time on a stage worthy of his genius and am 
bition. Appointed coadjutor to Mr. Hay, the United 
States District Attorney, the burden of the prosecution 
and the defence of the prosecutor (including the Presi 
dent) became his burdens. The necessities of the case 
were incessant and great. In the preliminaries of the 
trial in the light skirmishing of many weeks which 
preceded the main shock of battle, he held his own 

* Mr. Botts, the most intrepid of men, perished at the burning of the 
Richmond theatre, assisting the feeble to escape, Christmas week, 181 1. 



BUTT S Trial. 15 

well. ~N"or did lie fail in any part of the trial, though 
as yet far from that depth in the law and mastery in 
argument which so greatly distinguished his later ca 
reer. At every turn and effort, however, he caused 
himself to be felt and respected ; but at certain times, 
when it was required to call back fugitive attention, in 
order to another march in the argument, Mr. Wirt 
could soar, for the moment, high above his subject, 
and by bursts of rhetoric and fancy captivate all hear 
ers. These quickening passages in his oratory will 
ever command the admiration of the young ; nor can 
age always find the heart to contemn them. 

There were other counsel, on both sides, but of past, 
or local standing, adding nothing to the aggregate in 
terest of the scene. Not so of many eminent men, spec 
tators from a distance as Commodore Truxtun, Gen 
eral Eaton, of Derne memory ; General Jackson (wit 
ness ) ; Washington Irving,* etc., etc. ; besides distin 
guished Virginians John Randolph, foreman, and 

Littleton Waller Tazewell, member, of the grand jury ; 


William B. Giles, John Taylor, of Caroline, etc., etc. 

* It was there that I first made the acquaintance of this charming man 
and distinguished author an agreeable acquaintance continued through 
England, France, and America, down to his death. 



16 Burros Trial Reflections. 

But the interest of the trial, eminent as was the 
standing of the defendant ; eminent as was the forensic 
talent engaged ; brilliant as were the surroundings, and 
great as were the passions excited the hatreds, hopes, 
and fears of party the interest would have been less 
than half, but that the majesty of the law was, on the 
great occasion, nobly represented and sustained by 
John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States. 
His was the master spirit of the scene. 

To Congress, at the next meeting, the President sub 
mitted the case, that it might be seen, as he said, wheth 
er the acquittal of Colonel Burr of high treason was 
the result of a " defect in the testimony, in the law, or 
in the administration of the law" The latter was un 
derstood to be his opinion. The calm judgment of the 
bar, however, has now long been, that though the crime 
had been committed, the prosecution broke down in its 
legal proofs. This is to be regretted not that the 
thirst for blood was not slaked on the occasion ; but 
because, there never having been an execution in the 
United States for the highest of crimes, our people 
were, in 1832 and 1861, still untaught a most needful 
lesson that playing at treason is a dangerous game ! 
Hence, to threaten treason has become an ordinary 



Reflections Continued. 17 

party device in nominating presidents, and in factious 
debates even on the floors of Congress ; hence, nullifica 
tion in 1832- 33, and hence the present (1863) mighty 
rebellion.* 

* It is a striking fact that three of our ex- Vice-Presidents Aaron 
Burr, J. C. Calhoun, and J. C. Breckinridge became, each in his day, a 
leader in treason. 



CHAPTEE III. 

CHANGE OF PROFESSION ADVENTURE AS A VOLUNTEER 

RETURN TO THE BAR ENTERS THE ARMY. 

IT was as a newly fledged lawyer, looking on the 
trial just described as a fine professional study, that a 
different career suddenly dawned upon me. In a sin 
gle night I became a soldier. 

Burr s trial commenced May 22, 1807. A month 
later the outrage was committed by the British frigate 
Leopard, on the United States frigate Chesapeake, in 
our waters near the capes of Virginia. The whole 
country was fired with indignation. July 2, President 
Jefferson issued a proclamation, interdicting the use of 
our harbors and rivers to all British war vessels. Yol- 
unteers were called for to enforce the interdict that is, 



Became a Volunteer. 19 

to prevent landings to obtain fresh water, provisions, 
etc. The proclamation reached Richmond late in an 
evening. I had not before belonged to any military 
organization ; but early the next morning, at the parade 
of the Petersburg troop of cavalry (which had tendered 
its services in advance), I was in their ranks, mounted 
and fully equipped for the field, having travelled 
twenty-five miles in the night, obtained the uniform 
of a tall, absent trooper, and bought the extra fine 
charger under me. From that, my first parade, the 
troop marched off for the scene of its duties. 

The route marches and encampments of volunteers 
have, unfortunately, become too familiar to hundreds 
of thousands of our people of the present day, to be 
worth describing in this place. One incident, however, 
occurred to me in the expedition, which came very near 
being of great national importance. 

I belonged to a detached camp, in a charming grove, 
some two miles from Linn Haven Bay, opposite to the 
anchorage of the British squadron. There lay Sir 
Thomas Hardy, a favorite of Nelson, with several line- 
of-battle ships in sullen grandeur. Toward the camp, 
the coast was studded with downs (dunes, sand hills), 
behind which our small pickets were posted. One of 



20 Lance Corporal Made Prisoners. 

these was commanded by me as lance corporal (that is, 
corporal for the nonce), when, learning one night that 
an expedition from the squadron had gone up a neigh 
boring creek, I hastened with my guard to intercept 
its return. At the proper point a charge was made, 
and the whole crew, two midshipmen and six oarsmen, 
made prisoners. This was the more easily done, it is 
true, as they were all unarmed, and by the ebb of the 
tide the boat could scarcely be pushed through the 
mud. The picket being relieved, and returning to the 
pleasant camp next morning, the ex-corporal, jealous 
as Hotspur of his prisoners, had the exclusive charge 
of them conceded to him. The midshipmen sat on his 
right and left at a sylvan table, around which the whole 
troop consisting of young lawyers, doctors, and mer 
chants, like so many officers took their meals and 
hobnobbed together. Of course, at dinner, extra 
wine and porter were allowed the corporal for his 
charge, who, astonished, inquired if all American sol 
diers lived like gentlemen ? 

This incident, which gave life to the camp, was re 
garded as quite an " untoward event " in Washington. 
The Federalists were numerous and bitter in opposition, 
and as a republic is never prepared for war, perhaps a 



Return to ike Bar. 21 

little temporizing was necessary. Hence, notwithstand 
ing the long series of British wrongs, capped by the re 
cent outrage, Mr. Jefferson hesitated to take open and 
direct measures of retaliation. After deliberation and 
delay, orders came to restore the prisoners to Sir Thomas 
Hardy, with the imbecile admonition, usual in such 
cases : Take care not to do so again. 

In February, 1816, I met, in London, at Lord Hol 
land s hospitable board, one of those midshipmen, then 
Captain Fox. By his request he was brought up and 
presented. He began by apologizing for supposing that 
the major-general before him could be the Corporal 
Scott whose prisoner he had once been; but added, 
" the name, height, etc., etc., seem to exclude doubt." 
On being assured on the subject, a most cordial greet 
ing and intimacy ensued between the parties. 

The special outrage on the Chesapeake frigate was 
now in a train of settlement. The prospect of war 
seemed at an end, as the smaller wrongs would, it was 
supposed, follow the course of the greater. The young 
soldier had heard the bugle and the drum. It was the 
music that awoke ambition. But the new occupation 
was gone. He had to fall back on his original profes- 



o 

sion. 



22 South Carolina Legislature. 

I left Virginia in October, 180T, intending to estab 
lish myself in the practice of the law at Charleston, 
South Carolina. I took Columbia in the way, to peti 
tion the Legislature to dispense me from the twelve 
months previous residence required of non-native ap 
plicants for admission to the bar. The law makers in 
South Carolina, of 180T, composed the most dignified 
as well as the most intelligent body of the kind then in 
the Union. Among these were William Lowndes, the 
most accomplished statesman, generally, of his day 
not merely in wisdom, but also in temper and powers 
of conciliation. Langdon Cheves was already an able 
debater, much confided in by the House and his people 
at home. William Drayton, mild, pensive, persuasive, 
was high in the law, and philosophy of legislation. 
Caton Simmons, quite young, with a wide scope of in 
tellect, had ready eloquence and an indomitable spirit. 
There was also another Lowndes and two Deases all 
men of mark ; and every member named, with scores 
of others, conspicuous for good manners, good morals, 
and, at least, a leaven of genuine chivalry. John C. 
Calhoun was yet at home, in the early practice of 
the law. 

I spent many weeks agreeably and profitably at 



Charleston Slave Ships. 23 

Columbia, including the period of that session ; but my 
petition failed from the want of time. 

I next made arrangements for in-door practice in 
Charleston, till time should qualify me to appear in 
court, and went down to that city in company with, 
and under the patronage of a friend, a man of very re 
markable gifts and virtues, Judge Wilds, a native of 
the State, yet under forty, and high on the bench. So 
fine a head and stature have rarely been seen. To 
genius and learning was added, in his case, a temper 
sweet as that of a child. He it was who, in sentencing 
a master that had wilfully killed a slave, to a fine of a 
hundred pounds, currency the penalty limited by an 
old statute, wept tears of bitterness that he could not 
substitute the gallows, and threw out such a flood of 
indignant eloquence against the barbarity of the law, 
that it was by the next Legislature unanimously repeal 
ed. But, alas ! " whom the gods love, die young." 

I arrived at Charleston Christmas eve, 1807.* I 

* A very few days earlier there came into port two slave ships filled 
with native Africans, the last that ever were entered at an American cus 
tom house, as the trade ceased with the year 1807. The cargoes, promptly 
landed, appeared to have been well cared for on the ocean, where but few 
had died. All were fitly clothed, lodged, and fed. A few, wasted by sick 
ness, were placed in an infirmary, but fearing that it was intended to pre- 



24 Returns North. 

there learned that the prospect of hostilities with Eng 
land had, at Washington, flared up again. Only the 
affair of the Leopard and Chesapeake, as it turned out, 
had been atoned leaving the prior British wrongs, and 
many new cases of the same class, to rankle in the 
hearts of Americans. Hen^e it was believed, almost 
universally, at Charleston, that the embargo on all 
American shipping, just laid, was but the immediate 
precursor of a war manifesto on the part of Congress. 
I, strong in that opinion, promptly abandoned my new 
law arrangements and embarked for Washington, via 
New York, to seek a commission in some new marching 
regiment. A bill, indeed, authorizing the trebling of 

pare them to be eaten, they starved themselves to death. All believed 
that they would rise from the grave in their native land. Several Cuban 
planters, visited on their estates, gave illustrations of a like superstition. 
One of them, who cultivated sugar on the coast, had a mountain infirmary 
to which he sent, out of a purchase of some forty new arrivals from Africa, 
seven adults, men and women, who were in feeble health. Not doubting 
they were intended for their master s table, all hung themselves the first 
night. Africans are as fond of jewelry as the nouveau riche among our 
selves. Thus, a young woman, selected from a cargo, was kindly treated 
and instructed as their personal servant, by the mother and daughter of 
another family. Very soon the ingrate pagan stole the ladies jewels, cov 
ered herself with them, and applied the fatal cord, in the firm belief that she 
would soon revive in her own African paradise, wUh all the stolen orna 
ments upon her ! 



Visit to the President Promise, etc. 25 

our regular forces, had followed closely the embargo 
act ; but again, after a few weeks of excitement, the ad 
vocates of peace at any price seemed to gain the ascen 
dant. In the mean time the would fie a soldier had been 
received with favor by the President * and Secretary 
of War, on presentation by his neighbor and friend, 
the Hon. William B. Giles, and a captaincy promised, 
if the augmentation bill should become a law. 

* On waiting on Mr. Jefferson, we found with him Dr. Mitchell, of New 
York, and Dr. Walter Jones, of Virginia (two members of Congress), 
making three incessant talkers. Mr. Giles was also distinguished for his 
colloquial powers. In a sitting of thirty minutes, but two monologues 
were delivered the other two personages being in a state of forced silence, 
but making efforts to get the word. Swift, who, according to Dr. Johnson, 
though captivated by the attention of steady listeners, always made regu 
lar pauses in conversation, for the benefit of interlocutors, has had but few 
imitators hi this politeness. Mr. Jefferson, one of those silenced, at length 
turned to the autobiographer : " Well young man, what have you seen hi 
Washington ? Have you visited the Capitol ? Whom have you heard 
speak ? " "I was, sir, in the House yesterday, and heard a part of Barent 
Gardenier s six hours speech on the embargo." This was enough. Mr. 
G., a member from the city of New York, was bitter in opposition, and 
Mr. J. knew he had handled him with severity in that speech. Suddenly in 
terrupting Mitchell, the colleague of Gardenier, the president said : " Doc 
tor, I have just thought of an object to which to compare the House of 
Representatives. Sir, it is like the chimneys to our dwellings ; it carries 
off the smoke of party, which might otherwise stifle the nation." Mr. 
Jefferson was now in his second term of office, and not a candidate for a 
third. 

2 



26 The J3ar Criminal Reform. 

Early in March, 1808, the war party being on the 
descending scale, and the spring term of the courts of 
Virginia about to commence, the postponed soldier re 
turned to Petersburg, and began again the same circuit 
he had made the year before. 

The great leader of the Petersburg circuit was, at 
that day, George Keith Taylor, an ex-judge of a new 
circuit bench created in February, 1801, and abolished 
by the Eepublicans in 1802, the members of which 
were called midnight judges, having been nominated 
and confirmed within the last hour of Mr. Adams s ad 
ministration. Judge Taylor, the simplest, the most 
amiable and benevolent of men, had a giant s strength, 
both in the halls of justice and legislation, but was 
always most of a giant on the side of freedom, mercy, 
charity. He it was, the first in Christendom, who em 
bodied the principles of Beccaria in the criminal code 
of a state,* and founded a penitentiary, the comple- 

* Sir Samuel Romilly, in England, published a pamphlet in favor of a 
like amelioration in 1787, and followed up the subject, in Parliament, 
from the time he took his seat (in 1806) to his death in 1818. Sir Robert 
Peel, as Home Secretary, beginning in 1822, caused several bills to be 
passed which finally effected the object some twenty-eight years after the 
amelioration in Virginia. It is worthy of remark that the principle of this 
reform is urged with great force in the Rambler, No. 114, of April, 1751, 



Slavery in Court. 27 

ment of that enlightened measure ; and he it was, him 
self, a slaveholder, who, in the great suits of the time, 
brought by slaves for the recovery of freedom, without 
fee in hand or in expectancy, always stepped forward 
their honored champion and victor. 

It is due to Virginia, which had slavery forced upon 
her against her protests, to give a slight sketch of one 
of those trials. By law : 1. The plaintiffs were per 
mitted to sue in forma pauper is, which exempted them 
from all taxes and fees to the State and the officers of 
the court. 2. They had to prove that their ancestress, 
Hannah, was a free woman, in this case an Indian. 
This was done by several very aged witnesses, who re 
membered her, and swore that she was always called 
an Indian, and had the peculiar marks of the race ; 
and 3. That they, the plaintiffs, were the descendants, 
through females, of that woman. Tradition was al 
lowed to supply this link in the proof of each case. It 
being established that the ancestress was a free woman, 



and Beccaria s book was not published till 1764. Beccaria was himself a 
periodical essayist, having established the Cajfe, on the plan of the Specta 
tor^ at Milan, 1764. Was he a reader of the Rambler? The Rambler was 
translated into Italian, under the title of 11 Vagabondo ; but in what year 
is not ascertained. 



28 Slavery in Court. 

that is, an Indian, and all presumptions in courts are 
on the side of freedom, the court next devolved on the 
defendants (masters) the burden of showing that though 
an Indian, Hannah had been captured in war and sold 
into slavery, during a certain two years when it was 
lawful so to deal with prisoners. (Such was the Span 
ish law for more than two hundred years.) Here the 
defendants broke down. Let it be added that, besides 
the counsel for the negroes, the judge, the clerk of the 
court, the sheriff, and every juryman at the trial, were 
all slaveholders. 

I had a slight connection with this interesting case. 
My brother held a number of the plaintiffs, his coach 
man, Frank, being the leader of the whole. On the 
approach of the trial, I, the guest of my brother at the 
time, filled up the subpoenas for Frank, who, to serve 
them and to attend the court, called on his master for a 
horse, with money to pay expenses, which were fur 
nished. On his success, Frank proposed to remain with 
his late master, on moderate wages, in consideration 
of the maintenance of some of the family who could 
not work, and did remain till death separated them. 

I find a most pleasurable emotion in recalling a 
a visit to Judge T. s bedroom on the circuit, to beg 



The Circuit A Captain. 29 

advice on a critical point in a law paper I had in my 
hand ; to remember how readily the fatigued judge, 
obese and lethargic, stopped his night toilet, and, in 
the kindest manner which a life is not long enough 
to forget gave all the information needed. And this 
great and good man also died young under forty-five. 
At length the commission of captain of light, or 
flying artillery came to me, dated May 3, 1808. I re 
cruited my company in Petersburg and Richmond in 
the course of a few months, and next was ordered, 
with it, to Norfolk, to be embarked for New Orleans. 



CHAPTEK IT. 



THE BAR AND THE SWORD. 

FEBRUARY 4, 1809, I embarked with my company 
for ~New Orleans, in a clump of a ship, half rotten, and 
with a master so ignorant that he did not know of the 
passage among the Bahama Islands called the Hole in 
the Wall. Hence, we had to sail around the Island of 
Cuba (nearly doubling the passage), and arrived at the 
mouth of the Mississippi (the Balize) in thirty-five 
days, where the ship lost her rudder on the bar. This 
accident causing a further delay, we did not reach 
New Orleans till April 1. 

The excitement that caused the augmentation of 
the army the year before, like that which led to the 



Peace or War? 31 

embargo, soon subsided, to rise and fall again and again 
in the next four years. So great was the calm in the 
summer of 1809 that I once more turned my mind to 
ward civil pursuits, and sailed for Yirginia. Before 
my resignation had been definitely accepted by the 
"War Department, I heard that grave charges would be 
brought against me if I dared to return to the army of 
the Lower Mississippi. This was decisive. At once I 
resolved to face my accusers. Accordingly, I rejoined 
the main army, then at Washington, near Natchez, in 
November. 

The army of that day, including its general staff, 
the three old and the nine new regiments, presented no 
pleasing aspect. The old officers had, very generally, 
sunk into either sloth, ignorance, or habits of intem 
perate drinking. Among the honorable exceptions 
were : 1. Macomb, who won the battle of Plattsburg, 
and died, in 1841, a major-general and general-in-chief 
of the army. 2. Swift, who aided in the general or 
ganizing of the new army in 1812, took an active part 
in the field the next year, and gained the rank of brig 
adier-general. 3. McEee, of North Carolina, who won 
the rank of colonel in the field, and died in 1832 an 
officer of rare merit. 4. Wood, of New York, often 



32 The Old Army. 

distinguished in the field, and brevetted ; was killed in 
the sortie from Fort Erie, September, 1814, after at 
taining the rank of lieutenant-colonel, with another 
brevet then due him. 5. Totten, distinguished at 
Queenstown, October, 1812, and who won the rank 
of brigadier-general at the siege of Yera Cruz. He is 
now (1863) twenty-odd years the able chief of his corps. 
6. Thayer, now long a colonel, brevetted for distin 
guished conduct and meritorious services in the War 
of 1812- 15, who, as superintendent from 1817 to 1833 
of the Military Academy, gave development and great 
excellence to that institution stamping upon it his 
own high character. The foregoing were all engi 
neers. 7. Moses Porter, first distinguished as a ser 
geant of artillery at Mudfort (afterward Fort Mimin), 
and in 1779 and the following campaigns as lieutenant 
and captain. He died in 1822 a brigadier-general, a 
rank won by gallant services in the War of 1812 15, 
and though deficient in science, yet by his gallantry in 
front of the enemy, his great practical abilities in the 
laboratory and workshops, combined with fine soldier 
ly habits and bearing, he made himself invaluable. 8. 
Colonel Burbeck, to some extent a compeer of Porter 
in both wars, also a brigadier-general in 1812, and 



The Old Army. 33 

who had much merit of the same general character. 
9. Captain (subsequently Brigadier) House. 10. Colonel 
Bomford, an engineer, but distinguished as an artiller 
ist in the operations of the arsenals and machine shops. 
11. Colonel James Gibson, killed in the sortie from 
Fort Erie. 12. Lieutenant-Colonel Heileman, died 
at Fort Drane in 1836. 13. Major George Armistead, 
distinguished in the defence of Fort McHenry (Balti 
more) in 1814. 14, 15, 16, and 17. Majors John San 
ders, George Peter, and M. P. Lomax, with Captain 
Samuel Spotts, artillerists, all with merit, more or less. 
Coming to the old infantry (1st and 2d regiments), but 
few officers are remembered worthy of particular no 
tice. 18. Pike, then major, was made a brigadier- 
general in 1813, and soon after fell at the capture of 
York, Upper Canada, under Major-General Dearborn. 
19. Gaines, then a captain, who won, as brigadier, the 
rank of major-general by the defence of Fort Erie in 
August, 1814. 20 and 21. "William E. Boote, and 
Ninian Pinkney, who became colonels in the staff in 
1813 ; and 22. William Lawrence, made lieutenant- 
colonel in 3 814, for the defence of Fort Bowyer, on 
the Mobile. The general staff of the army of that day 

was small. 23. Colonel A. G. Nicoll was the respec- 
2* 



34 Old and New Army. 

table adjutant and inspector of the army; but, .24. 
William Linnard, long " military agent," without army 
rank, and only made quartermaster-general, with the 
rank of colonel, in 1813, was a public servant of the 
rarest merit in his way. For thirty-three years he 
made, at Philadelphia, all disbursements on account 
of the army (saving the monthly payments to troops), 
amounting to fifty-odd millions, without the loss of 
a cent, and at the smallest cost in storage, clerk hire, 
and other incidental expenses ever known. He per 
sonally performed double, if not treble, the amount of 
ordinary labor. His integrity, at his death in 1835, 
had long been proverbial. 25. Simeon Knight, pay 
master, and who became colonel in 1813, was a good 
disbursing officer. 26 and 2T. Surgeon Dennis Claude, 
M. D., and Surgeon Oliver H. Spencer, M. D., were 
eminent in their profession, and highly esteemed gen 
erally. 

I will not here undertake to dissect, in like manner, 
the officers who entered the army with me in 1808 (and 
of whom my name alone remains, in 1863, on the Army 
Register). The labor would be great, and the interest 
to most readers small. It may, however, be safely said 
that many of the appointments were positively bad, 



New Army. 35 

and a majority of the remainder indifferent. Party 
spirit of that day knew no bounds, and, of course, was 
blind to policy. Federalists were almost entirely ex 
cluded from selection, though great numbers were eager 
for the field, and in the ]STew England and some other 
States, there were but very few educated Republicans. 
Hence the selections from those communities consisted 
mostly of coarse and ignorant men. In the other 
States, where there was no lack of educated men in 
the dominant party, the appointments consisted, gener 
ally, of swaggerers, dependants, decayed gentlemen, and 
others " fit for nothing else," which always turned 
out utterly unfit for any military purpose whatever. 
These were the men, who, on the return of peace, be 
came the " unscarred braggarts of the war," a heavy 
burden to the Government, and, as beggars, to the 
country. Such were the results of Mr. Jefferson s low 
estimate of, or rather contempt for, the military char 
acter, the consequence of the old hostility between 
him and the principal officers who achieved our inde 
pendence. In 1808 the West Point Academy had 
graduated but few cadets nearly all of whom are 
specially mentioned above as meritorious ; for a booby 
Bent thither, say at the age of 16, 17, or even 19 and 



36 Military Academy Parties. 

there are many such in every new batch is, in his 
term of four years, duly manipulated, and, in most 
cases, polished, pointed, and sent to a regiment with a 
head upon his shoulders; whereas, if a booby be at 
once made a commissioned officer, the odds are great 
that he will live and die a booby. How infinitely un 
wise then, in a republic, to trust its safety and honor in 
battles, in a critical war like that impending over us 
in 1808, to imbeciles and ignoramuses ! * 

It has been stated that I rejoined the army in 
November, 1809. The officers were divided into two 
factions. Nearly all old in commission, and a majority 
of the appointments of 1808, were partisans of Briga 
dier-General Wilkinson, late commander on the Lower 
Mississippi. The remainder were the supporters of his 
successor, Brigadier-General Hampton. "Wilkinson was 

* The officers appointed to the large augmentations of the army in 1812 
and 1813, by President Madison, were, from nearly the same reasons, of 
the same general character. President Lincoln, and Mr. Cameron, Secre 
tary of War, accepting the assistance of experienced officers near them, 
made, at the beginning of the rebellion, many excellent selections of officers 
for the new regiments then authorized. President Jackson, in respect to 
the 2d Dragoons, raised in his time, and President Polk, in respect to the 
Bine Regiment raised in 1846, followed the examples of 1808, 1812, and 
1813. To the new regiments organized in the time of President Pierce, 
many indifferent officers were given. 



Parties in the Army. 37 

the favorite of the new officers (all Republicans) be 
cause, as brother conspirator, he had turned State s evi 
dence or " approver," against Bun*, and Burr s treason 
had been prosecuted with zeal at the instance of Mr. 
Jefferson. Some of these partisans had heard me, in 
an excited conversation, the preceding summer, just be 
fore I sailed for the North, say that I knew, soon after 
the trial, from my friends, Mr. Randolph and Mr. 
Tazewell, as well as others, members of the grand jury, 
who found the bill of indictment against Burr, that 
nothing but the influence of Mr. Jefferson had saved 
Wilkinson from being included in the same indict 
ment, and that I believed Wilkinson to have been 
equally a traitor with Burr. This was in New Orleans, 
the headquarters of Wilkinson, commanding the de 
partment. The expression of that belief was not only 
imprudent, but, no doubt, at that time, blamable; 
inasmuch as the 6th article of war enacts that " any 
officer, etc., who shall behave with contempt or dis 
respect toward his commanding officer, shall be pun 
ished," etc. But this was not the declaration that was 
now to be tried, but a similar one, made after my re 
turn to the army, when Wilkinson, though still in the 
neighborhood and the "superior," was no longer the 



38 The Court Martial. 

" commanding officer " (being off duty), but Hampton. 
Notwithstanding the reasonable distinction between 
commanding and superior officer, plainly recognized 
in the articles of war (see the 9th), and strongly urged 
in the defence (made without counsel), the court found 
me guilty of this specification, and pronounced my 
" conduct unofficer-like ; " but not ungenflemanly, as 
was expressly and maliciously charged by the prose 
cutor. This officer, a violent partisan, who lived and 
died a reprobate as a blind, to cover his instigator, 
trumped up another matter as the leading accusation, 
viz. : withholding money intended for the payment of 
the company ; and this too was charged under the head 
of "conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman." 
The case was simply this : that of some $4:00 remitted 
to me as captain for the* payment of my company at 
Bichmond, no sufficient receipts, through ignorance of 
forms, were taken for about $47, although the greater 
part of this small sum had also been advanced to the 
individuals to whom it was due, and the remaining in 
significant fraction could not be paid over by reason 
of the intermediate deaths of some two or three of the 
men. Certainly nothing could have been more irregu- 
lar than those payments ; but the prescribed receipt 



The Court Martial. 39 

rolls had not been furnished, and of the whole com 
pany, including officers, not an individual had ever 
been present at a payment, or seen a roll used for 
the purpose. Moreover, captains are not the paymas 
ters of their respective companies. The duty was 
wrongfully imposed. A proper paymaster should 
have been sent with the proper papers. The court 
found the accused guilty of this specification, and pro 
nounced " his conduct unofficer-like," and sentenced 
him, on the two findings, to be suspended for twelve 
months. "But \it was carefully added} the court 
have no hesitation in acquitting the accused of all 
fraudulent intentions in detaining the pay of his 
men" And further, the court recommended that nine 
months of the suspension should be remitted. 

Those findings call for two general remarks : 1. 
The court, in each case, not only omit to add to 
" conduct unofficer-like " the attainting words " and 
ungentleinanly ; " but in the only case where corrup 
tion or dishonor could have been involved, the court 
unhesitatingly and expressly acquit the accused of 
"all fraudulent intentions." Indeed, how could fraud 
have been intended, or perpetrated? The Treasury 
charged the captain with the whole sum he receipted 



4:0 Court Martial. 

for. If he failed to return valid receipts for the whole 
amount, his pay would at once be stopped to balance 
the account. The Treasury, therefore, could not be 
defrauded, nor the unpaid men, as the Treasury would 
remain their debtor until the next visit of a regular 
paymaster. The imputation, therefore, was both stupid 
and malignant. 2. According to the 83d Article of 
War, any commissioned officer " convicted of conduct 
unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be dis 
missed the service " leaving the court no discretion. 

The earlier treason of Wilkinson, strongly suspect 
ed at the time, beginning about 1787, and continued 
many years after he was the commander of the United 
States Army, is now fully established in Charles Gay- 
arre s History of Louisiana, under Spanish do-ruina 
tion* by Wilkinson s own letters, addressed to the sov- 

i/ O 

ernor of Louisiana, found in the archives of Madrid. 
See the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of the History 
passim^ published by Redfield, New York, 1854. And 
for the manner of obtaining the letters,* see note to 
page 211. Mr. Gayarre was many years Secretary 
of State of Louisiana, and in 1835 elected to the 

* They were copied under the eye of our minister (Hon. R. Saunders), 
by Mr. De Gayangos, for the legislature of Louisiana. 



Suspension. 41 

Senate of the United States, an honor he declined 
on account of bad health. Wilkinson s object was 
to separate the whole Western territory from the 
Union, to be added to the crown of Spain, whose pen 
sioner he was down to 1795. Burr s scheme was a 
little different, in which Wilkinson undoubtedly par 
ticipated for a time. 

The autobiographer, in 1810, again returned to his 
home ; became domesticated with his invaluable friend, 
Benjamin Watkins Leigh, of Petersburg, the worthy 
rival, at the bar, of George Keith Taylor; a distin 
guished member of the Senate of the United States, 
and long, before his death, the undisputed head of the 
law in Yirginia. Conservative and moral in the high 
est degree, this gifted man, son of a distinguished 
Episcopal minister, and the pupil of another Neilly 
Robertson added to his high collegiate attainments 
no mean acquaintance with theology. In the evenings 
of a twelvemonth the parties read aloud to each other, 
with running comments, principally by the senior, per 
haps, every choice passage in English literature. To 
those readings, and to his conversation and example, 
I have owed, in every struggle and triumph of life, 
great and pleasing obligations. 



42 Suspension. 

The following letter, which the writer had entirely 
forgotten till he saw it in print, alludes to this period 
the period of his suspension. 

From the National Intelligencer of February 25, 1855. 

"PETERSBURG, June, 1811. 

" DEAR SIR : 

" I believe we have very little village news to give 
you, nor do I know what would please you in that 
way. 

" Of myself that personage who fills so large a 
space in every man s own imagination, and so small a 
one in the imagination of every other I can say but 
little ; perhaps less would please you more. Since my 
return to Virginia, my time has been passed in easy 
"transitions from pleasure to study, from study to pleas 
ure ; in my gayety forgetting the student ; in the stu 
dent forgetting my gayety.* I have generally been in 
the office of my friend, Mr. Leigh, though not unmind 
ful of the studies connected with my present profes 
sion ; but you will easily conceive my military ardor 
has suffered abatement. Indeed, it is my design, as 

* " If idle, be not solitary ; if solitary, be not idle." An apothegm of 
Burton paraphrased by Johnson. My early motto. 



Return to the Army. 43 

soon as circumstances will permit, to throw the feather 
out of my cap and resume it in my hand. Yet, should 
war come at last, my enthusiasm will be rekindled; 
and then, who "knows ~but that I may yet write my his 
tory with my swwd f 

" Tours, truly, 

" WINFIELD SCOTT." 

"LEWIS EDWARDS, ESQ., Washington. 1 

Mr. E., a friend, to whom the letter was addressed, 
a native of Massachusetts, had long resided in Peters 
burg, and was, in 1811, a principal officer in the War 
Department. It is understood that his son, a respect 
able resident of Washington, and for many years a 
most exemplary Commissioner of Pensions, communi 
cated the original letter to the National Intelligencer 
on the occasion of the writer s promotion to the rank 
of lieutenant-general. 

In the autumn of 1811 I rejoined the army, head 
quarters, Baton Rouge, by the land route, in a party 
of five, made up in South Carolina. In the preceding 
spring two detachments of troops were started one 
from Fort Hawkins, on the Ocmulgee, then the In 
dian frontier, far within Georgia, and the other from 



4A Indian Country. 

Baton Kouge, on the Mississippi, to cut through the 
intermediate forests a practical wagon road, to bridge 
the smaller streams, to construct scows, and to estab 
lish ferries (to be kept by Indians) on the rivers. The 
whole space, up to the eastern line of Louisiana, be 
longed to, and was occupied by, Creeks, Choctaws, 
and other Indians, excepting two small settlements 
of less, together, than a dozen white families, about 
Fort Stevens and Fort Stoddart, both on the Mobile. 
The party was a little delayed, near the middle of the 
route, waiting for the meeting of the two detachments 
of troops. The wagons of the troops, with a gig and 
light wagon * belonging to the travellers, were the first 
wheeled vehicles that ever rolled over that immense 
tract of country of some six hundred miles in width. 

Crossing the Ocmulgee, the party encamped a day 
or two near the residence of Colonel Hawkins, an 
officer of merit in the army of the -Revolution, much 
confided in by General Washington, an ex-member 
of Congress from North Carolina, under the Consti 
tution, and then Agent of the United States for the 

* This conveyed the tents, baggage, cooking utensils, and dry pro 
visions of the travellers. Yenison and turkeys were obtained by their 
rifles and purchase from the Indians. Corn (maize) for the horses, was 
also bought of the latter. 



Indian Customs. 4:5 

Creek Indians. This venerable functionary, with an 
extensive general library, in that savage country 
still cultivating letters and science did much to in 
troduce schools and the mechanic arts among his red 
men, by whom he was regarded as a father. He gave 
me interesting information respecting the superstitions, 
laws, and customs of the Creeks a small part of which, 
at least, seems worthy of record. In the administra 
tion of justice, in both civil and criminal cases, wit 
nesses w r ere sworn by their respective chiefs, to tell, 
first, all they positively knew of the cases under trial, 
and next to give their ~belief in respect to such par 
ticulars as did not directly strike their senses circum 
stantial evidence. The chief of each then submitted 
to the judges (council) from his intimate knowledge of 
the witness, how much of the testimony, including be 
lief , ought to be received, and how much rejected. 
This system of compurgation and purgation was said 
to have worked admirably. 

But few incidents, worth being remembered, oc 
curred during this tour of my service on the Lower 
Mississippi. At Baton Rouge, I was appointed special 
judge advocate for the trial of a commanding officer 
(a colonel) of considerable ability, for gross negligence 



46 In the Staff. 

under the heads of discipline and administration. He 
had several times before, by dilatory pleas, defied or 
baffled justice; but on this occasion was brought to 
trial, convicted, and censured. 

In the winter of 1811- 12 I was, from time to time, 
a member of Brigadier-General Hampton s staff, the 
commander of the Southern army, and much in New 
Orleans. Whilst in the city, there arrived, Christmas 
eve, from Pittsburg, in a cloud of smoke and steam, 
spitting fire, the first vessel of the kind that ever 
stemmed the currents of the mighty Western rivers. 
This steamer bore the name of a volcano Etna or 
Vesuvius. Descending, she scarcely attracted the no 
tice of Creoles, except that of a few, who thought her 
a flatboat, of unusual size, and accidentally on fire. 
But in a day or two, returning from a trip made to the 
English Turn, fifteen miles below the city, she aroused 
the curiosity and fears of the natives on the coast, when 
all broke off from their Christmas sports, and many on 
horseback, without saddles, and more on foot, some 
without hats, flew up to the city, with " bated breath 
and hair on end," to learn something of this water 
monster that could stem a current of six miles an hour 
without sails, poles, or oars ! 



New Orleans. 47 

The prospect of war being again faint, I spent, 
about this period, some hours daily, in reviewing my 
Domat, Pothier, etc., in order to be prepared for the 
bar of New Orleans, ruled by the civil law. But, 
early in February (the mails at that time moved very 
slowly) news arrived that Congress had, January 11, 
1812, added twenty-five thousand men to the army. 
The eyes of all embryo heroes were at once turned 
upon Washington and the British North American 
provinces. A declaration of hostilities on our part, 
however, was still withheld, till, at length, when the 
time for action seemed, certainly, to be at hand, 
Brigadier-General Hampton, with two of his suite 
Captain Scott and Lieutenant C. K. Gardner (subse 
quently a staff colonel of considerable abilities in the 
field and in the bureau) embarked, May 20, 1812, at 
New Orleans for Washington, via Baltimore. At that 
season a more stormy and tedious passage, between the 
two cities, was, probably, never known. But long as 
it was, it was most fortunate for the ship and passen 
gers, particularly the three army officers, that it was 
not lengthened two hours more ; for, as we entered the 
capes of Virginia, we had to pass close to a British 
frigate, lying off and on the bar. Standing on our 



48 Sails for Washington. 

course, in less than an hour we met a Hampton pilot 
boat under a cloud of canvas, going out to sea. This 
was the 20th of June, and that boat, it was subse 
quently known, was the bearer of despatches from the 
British Minister (Mr. Mansfield) at Washington, to 
say that Congress had declared war, two days before, 
against his country. Of this fact our pilot, shipped 
far out at sea, was, of course, ignorant ; and the master 
of the Hampton boat, on a trial for treason, was ac 
quitted on the ground that he knew nothing of the 
war, and nothing of the contents of the despatch he 
delivered to the frigate. 

What a happy escape for me ! Had the New Or 
leans ship been captured, I might, as a prisoner, have 
chafed and been forgotten, for months perhaps years 
in a British prison ! 

Off North Point, some sixteen miles from Balti 
more, the packet got aground, when, such was the ex 
treme impatience for news, that several passengers, I 
among them, landed, to walk, or to find our way to 
the city as we might. 



CHAPTEE Y. 

WAR DECLARED DOUBLE PROMOTION MARCH TO CANADA. 

AT the end of the fourth mile we came upon a 
stated militia meeting, the commander of which had 
just received the Declaration of War, the Manifesto, 
etc. Being in half uniform, and fired with the great 
news, I became the hero of the occasion. Mounted on 
a table, I was made to read the Declaration of War in 
the midst of the most enthusiastic shouts and cheers. 
This earned for me at once the offer of a seat in a 
double gig to Baltimore. But to me, this, the first 
day of the war, came very near being also the last ; 
for my new friend, the driver, being drunk with the 
sentiment of the occasion, or the potations at the syl 
van barbacue, overturned the gig twice, each time at 
the great peril of limbs and necks. 



50 A Lieutenant- Colonel. 

Thanks to my stars and the assumption of the 
reins, Baltimore was reached, in the dark, June 21, 
1812, where I (a captain) was made perfectly happy 
by learning that a double promotion awaited my 
arrival at Washington. About the sixth in prepara 
tion for the field, among the old officers of the army, 
and a lieutenant-colonel in rank,. at the age of twenty- 
six, with a hot war before me seemed to leave nothing 
to be desired but the continued favor of Providence ! 

The stay of the travellers was but short in "Wash 
ington. And here terminated the official connection 
of a respected friend and commander, with the auto- 
biographer. 

Major-General Hampton was a man of mark. 
Early in life he displayed zeal and enterprise under 
Sumter and Marion, and is mentioned with distinction 
in the battle of Eutaw. The outlines of his character 
were sharp and well defined. In mind vigorous, 
prompt, intrepid, sagacious; but of irritable nerves; 
consequently, often harsh, and sometimes unjust ; but 
followed, in every instance, by the acknowledgment 
of wrong, or the evident signs of contrition and re 
pentance. Toward the humble he frequently made 
more substantial amends appropriate benefits 



Scene in Washington. 51 

money, clothes, and employments at the promptings 
of his own generous nature. Toward the autobiog- 
rapher, who enjoyed his inmost confidence, he was 
uniformly kind and considerate. An amusing case of 
quick temper, on his part, followed by placability, oc 
curred at. this visit to Washington. 

Immediately preceding there had been quite an 
unpleasant official correspondence between General 
Hampton and Dr. Eustis, Secretary of "War. Never 
theless, mere coolness between the parties did not 
absolve the former from the official propriety of calling 
on the latter. Accordingly, the general, accompanied 
by me, made an early visit to the War Office. His 
name was no sooner announced than the Secretary 
flew to the door, with hand extended, to receive the 
general. The latter bowed, but to my great surprise, 
crossed his hands behind him. Nevertheless an official 
conversation ensued, after the parties* were seated in 
the office, which, successively melted into a pleasant, 
and then a friendly character. The interview lasted 
perhaps an hour. The Secretary bowed the general 
to the door, when the latter turned, and offered both 
his hands. It was now the Secretary s turn to show a 
dignified resentment, and, accordingly, he exactly re- 



52 Set to Prepare Troops. 

taliated the crossing of hands behind ! But this was 
now very differently regarded ; for Hampton was not 
disposed to treat the matter as a game of quits. A 
messenger was despatched for General D. R. Wil 
liams,* M. C. from South Carolina ; pistols were pro 
cured, a challenge indited, and everything made 
ready, on one side, for a deadly combat if necessary. 
Dr. Eustis chose, as his friend, on the occasion, Mr. 
Secretary Hamilton (J^avy Department), another South 
Carolinian. These very judicious friends, looking to 
the advanced ages of the parties, and the ludicrous 
character of the quarrel, soon arranged that Hampton 
should, the next morning, present himself at the "War 
Office door, to be met there by Dr. Eustis, with both 
hands extended, etc., in the presence of the same spec 
tators the autobiographer, and the chief clerk of the 
War Department ! 

The new lidutenant-colonel was soon ordered to. 
Philadelphia, to collect the companies of the regiment 
as fast as recruited, and to prepare them for the field. 
A camp of instruction was formed, but the recruiting 

* It is impossible to name this most excellent man, without adding 
terms of admiration, love, and respect notwithstanding a foolish speech 
(the only one of the sort he ever made) that gave him, for the moment, 
*ie sobriquet of " thunder-and-liglitning Williams." 



Camp near Philadelphia. 53 

advanced slowly. Early in September the impatience 
of this officer could wait no longer, and he obtained, 
by solicitation, orders to proceed to Niagara. 

To perverted minds, u big wars make ambition 
virtue ; " but let the lovers of war look upon, after a 
general action, the dead and the dying on the field, 
and visit the hospitals. ~No doubt some wars are 
necessary, as was that of 1812, on our part ; and the 
constitutional and moral right, on the part of the 
Federal Union, of putting down the existing rebellion 
if deemed expedient is indisputable. Nevertheless, 
I cannot but sigh, with Cowper 

" For a lodge in some vast wilderness, 
Some boundless continuity of shade, 
Where rumor ****** 
Of unsuccessful or successful war, 
Might never reach me more." 

Dryden, too, in a dedication to the Duke of Or- 
mond, has expressed a lively abhorrence for " those 
athletic brutes, whom, undeservedly, we call heroes," 
and adds " cursed be the poet who first honored with 
the name, a mere Ajax a man-killing idiot." 



CHAPTEE VI. 

NIAGABA FEONTIEE CAPTURE OF WAB VESSELS BATTLE 

OF QUEENSTOWN A PBISONEB OF WAE PAEOLED. 

Is this temper of mind, the battles and sieges of the 
following narrative are not likely to be much elabo 
rated; to be written at the charging step or to the 
sound of the trumpet. How different were the feel 
ings of the young lieutenant-colonel, on reporting to 
Brigadier-General Alexander Smyth,* near Buffalo, 
October 4, 1812. 

* This officer, a native of Ireland, was a respectable member of the 
southwestern bar of Virginia, when made, in 1808, colonel of the new 
rifle regiment. He had long been a laborious and useful member of the 
legislature, and for several years before his death maintained the same 
character hi Congress. As a general, though well read, brave, and hon 
orable, he showed no talent for command, and made himself ridiculous on 
the Niagara frontier, by his proclamations calling for volunteers. His 



Assists in a Naval Enterprise. 55 

I was sent immediately to cover the temporary 
yard, behind Squaw Island, a little below Black Rock, 
where Lieutenant Elliott, of the navy, was fitting up 
certain lake craft for war purposes. This was the be 
ginning of the squadron that won, under Commodore 
Perry, the following year, the splendid victory on Lake 
Erie. In a few days two British war vessels were dis- 
covjered early one morning at. anchor under the guns 
of Fort Erie, opposite to the harbor of Buffalo. Lieu 
tenant Elliott conceived the idea of capturing them, 
by surprise and boarding, just before daylight the fol 
lowing morning, and applied to the lieutenant-colonel 
for a detachment of troops to aid in the enterprise. 
Captain Nathan Towson, afterward much distinguish 
ed, was accordingly detailed for that service, seconded 
by Adjutant Roach, subsequently mayor of Philadel 
phia. He (Towson) gallantly carried and saved the 
Caledonia, and Lieutenant Elliott carried the Detroit, 
formerly the United States Brig Adams, surrendered 
by Hull. There being no wind, the latter vessel was 
swept by the current down the Niagara, and got 
aground on the British side of Squaw Island, where 

certificate on honor, late in life, that he had discovered the Key to the 
Apocalypse, was another extraordinary blunder. 



56 Success Descends the Ri/ver. 

she was abandoned by her captors, taken possession of 
by the enemy, and became the subject of a sharp con 
test during the day, between detachments of troops 
from both sides of the river. Finally she was burned 
by the Americans, as she could not be got afloat. This 
was a busy day (October 8) with the lieutenant-colonel, 
both on the island and mainland, and the first time 
that he was under the fire of the enemy. 

Three days later he moved down the river, under 
orders to report to Major-General Yan Rensselaer, 
the patroon of Albany, who commanded a camp at 
Lewiston, opposite to Queenstown, of some 1,500 vol 
unteers, and three small detachments of regulars under 
Lieutenant-Colonels Fenwick and Christie, and Major 
Mullany. 

Late in the evening of the 12th, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Scott, learning, accidentally, at Schlosser, that a hos 
tile movement was on foot from Lewiston, marched 
down in the night to claim for his battalion a part in 
the expedition. He was refused, because all arrange 
ments were made and instructions given, placing Lieu 
tenant-Colonel Yan Kensselaer, the chief of the gen 
eral s staff, at the head of the movement, and I, his 



Battle of Queenstown. 57 

senior, would not serve under any junior,* although 
Fenwick, the senior of the three, had waived his rank. 
Christie was Scott s junior. As to the battalion of the 
latter, there were no boats fit for artillery carriages, 
and, indeed, as it turned out, not enough for the in 
fantry previously designated. 

The object of the expedition was to storm the 
heights of Queenstown, occupied by a small garrison 
of the 49th British Foot, supporfed by hosts of Indians, 
and to hold the same as a door of entrance for the large 
invading army (of volunteers) that was soon to follow. 
In crossing, about daylight, the boats had to sustain a 
direct plunging fire from the battery on the heights, 
and also the flaiik^ fire of several forts near the village, 
below. Yan Rensselaer, badly wounded, scarcely stood 
on his feet at the point of landing ; Fenwick s boat, 
perforated with shots and half filled with water, drifted 
to the enemy s shore, when he, desperately wounded, 

* This refusal was remembered by Colonel Van Kensselaer in the Whig 
Convention that met at Harrisburg in November, 1839, when Harrison, 
Clay, and Scott were in nomination for the presidency, and it was also re 
membered that Scott had, in January, 1838, arrested the colonel s son at 
Schlosser, while attempting to invade Canada at the head of a body of 
Americans. The New York delegation would have been unanimous for 
Scott but for the colonel. 
3* 



58 Battle of Queenstown. 

was taken out with a detachment of men prisoners of 
war. Christie s boat was also maltreated and he slight 
ly wounded in the attempt to cross.* And now it was 
that Lieutenant-Colonel Scott whose light batteries, 
commanded by Captains Towson and Barker, had par 
tially diverted the enemy s fire from our boats was 
permitted, at his repeated solicitation, to cross over 
and take command of our forces in conflict with the 
enemy. Fortunately; he made the passage, accom 
panied only by Adjutant Roach, of his battalion, with 
but little hurt or damage. The heights and battery 
had been previously carried by detachments of the 6th 
Infantry, under Captain Machesney ; of the 13th, un 
der Captains Wool, Armstrong, Ogilvie, and Malcomb ; 
one of the 23d, under Major Mullany ; a company 
of light artillery, under Captain James Gibson, sup 
ported by Lieutenant Thomas B. Randolph, with one 
six-pounder and some New York militia. Captain 
Wool had been disabled by a wound, in ascending the 
heights. Captain J. G. Totten, of the Engineers, was 
also with the troops, qualified and ready for any duty 
that might fall to him. It was a little before this time 

* He, however, subsequently joined Scott, and shared with him the 
fortunes of the day. 



Battle of Queenstown. 59 

that Major-General Brock, Lieutenant-Govern or of 
Upper Canada, and the Secretary of the Province, 
Colonel McDonald, fell at the foot of the heights, 
while gallantly leading up from the mouth of the 
river a body of York volunteers, with a number of 
additional Indians. 

A pause ensued. The lieutenant-colonel rapidly 
reconnoitred the heights; took up a position for de 
fence until joined by the great body of the forces re 
maining in camp at Lewiston ; introduced himself and 
adjutant to his line of battle, and attempted to unspike 
the guns the enemy had left in the captured battery. 
While directing the latter operation the enemy s col 
lected forces suddenly drove in our pickets, when regu 
lars, volunteers, and Indians rushed upon our line of 
battle, which, intimidated, began to face about, and, 
in a moment would have been in full retreat, but that 
the lieutenant-colonel, running back from the battery, 
by storming and a free use of the sword, brought his 
whole line to face the enemy, and, in a charge, to drive 
him beyond reach. After an interval, a second attack 
was made with a like result. Returning again to the 
chosen position our forces were reformed, and stood 
impatiently awaiting the arrival of reinforcements 



60 Battle of Queenstown. 

from the other side of the river ; for the approach of 
a fresh column of the enemy from below could be 
plainly seen, under, as it proved, Brigadier-General 
Sheaffe, on whom had devolved all the public func 
tions of Brock. The new reinforcement of the enemy 
being also perceived by Major-General Yan Rensse- 
laer, he wrote to our commander on the Canada side : 
"I have passed through my camp. Not a regiment, 
not a company is willing to join you. Save yourselves 
by a retreat, if you can. Boats shall be sent to receive 
you." 

The disgrace of Hull s recent surrender was deeply 
felt by all Americans. Those on Queenstown Heights, 
at the instance of their youthful commander, resolved, 
though with but little hope of success, to sustain the 
shock of the enemy, when, if beaten, the survivors 
might still seek an escape by means of the promised 
boats. The British commander approached with an 
awful tedio usness, evidently supposing the small body 
in his view to be merely the advance guard of the 
Americans. At length the conflict came. The firings, 
on both sides, were deadly, and then followed a partial 
clash of bayonets. The Americans, by the force of 
overwhelming numbers were pushed from the heights 



Flags of T<>*uce. 61 

toward the river, aiding themselves, in the steep de 
scent, by means of brushwood and yielding saplings. 
One hundred and thirty-nine regulars, out of six hun 
dred that had embarked in the morning, and two hun 
dred and fifty-odd volunteers,* out of four hundred and 
fifty, reached the margin of the river. Here all were 
seized with despair. ~No boats had arrived ! Indeed, but 
a few that were serviceable remained, and General Yan 
Rensselaer could not force nor bribe oarsmen enough, 
among his men, to take one of them to their forlorn 
countrymen ! A surrender was inevitable. There was 
no time to lose. The enemy were gradually letting 
themselves down the precipice, which partially covered 
the Americans, near enough to render their fire effec 
tive. 

Two bearers of flags of truce had been despatched 
in succession to the British commander, but there was 
no return, and no cessation of hostilities. It was con- 

* This body of men, under Brigadier-General Wadsworth, supported 
by Colonel Stranahan, behaved with gallantry throughout the day. When 
Scott assumed the command he did not know that there was a general 
officer on the ground. The latter, in plain clothes, modestly made his 
rank known, and insisted on supporting Scott, which he did, with zeal and 
valor, in every combat. This Wadsworth (William) and his brother, 
James, were the great farmers on the Genesee Flats. 



62 Surrender. 

eluded that they had been killed or captured by the 
Indians. Captains Totten and Gibson each volunteered 
to make a third attempt, but as to bear a flag had be 
come a forlorn service, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott as 
sumed the duty to himself, and took with him his 
gallant comrades, Totten and Gibson. Being uncom 
monly tall and in a splendid uniform, it was thought 
his chance of being respected by the savages, who were 
under but little control, the best. The party had to 
pass down along the margin of the river some hun 
dreds of yards to find an easy ascent. Several shots 
had been fired at them, before they turned up to the 
left, when two Indians (Captain Jacobs and young 
Brant, of whom more in the sequel), after firing, sprang 
from a covert and seized the party. A deadly combat 
impended ; but a detachment of regulars, headed by an 
officer, rushed to the rescue, and conducted the flag to 
the British commander, General Sheaife. His first 
and second attempts to stop the Indian fire on the 
Americans under the precipice proving unsuccessful, 
Lieutenant - Colonel Scott demanded to be escorted 
back to his countrymen, that he might share their fate. 
He was prevailed upon to await another trial, which 
succeeding, a formal surrender was made on terms 



Demagogues in the Volunteers. 63 

honorable to all parties, and the prisoners were put in 
march for the village of Newark (since Niagara), at the 
mouth of the river. 

Nothing could have been more painful than the 
position of Major-General Stephen Yan Bensselaer* 
during the day of Queenstown. A citizen of undoubt 
ed patriotism and valor, with a weight of moral char 
acter very rare but without military experience he 
found himself helpless in his camp, by the machina 
tions in the ranks of demagogues opposed to the Ad 
ministration and the war. These vermin, who infest 
all republics, boastful enough at home, no sooner 
found themselves in sight of the enemy than they 
discovered thai the militia of the United States could 
not be constitutionally marched into a foreign coun 
try If This pleasant doctrine to the faint hearted, 
soon found almost universal favor. The pure-minded 

* But distantly, if at all, related to the colonel, chief of his staff. 

f What so perverse and mischievous as party frenzy in a republic ! I 
was made a prisoner at Queenstown, in a lawful and necessary war, because 
certain militia would not cross the Niagara to my rescue. In the winters 
of 1837- 8, and 1838- 9, it cost me my utmost exertions, physical and 
mental, all along the British frontiers, from Lake Huron to Aroostook to 
prevent our people from making uninvited, unlawful, and preposterous in 
vasions of the conterminous Provinces. 



64 Prisoner of War. 

general took an early opportunity of retiring from the 
command of such troops. 

On reaching the village of Newark, the American 
officers were lodged in a small inn after being divested 
of their swords, which were temporarily stacked under 
the staircase in the entry. A strong guard was at 
hand, and sentries were posted. In a few minutes a 
servant said that there were persons at the front door 
who desired to see the tall American. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Scott, passing through several doors, found, on 
reaching the entry, that his visitors were the same two 
Indians met by him some hours before when bearing 
the flag of truce. Captain Jacobs, one of them, a man 
of uncommon stature and power, speaking but little 
English was interpreted by his companion, young 
Brant, the life of whose father has been published by 
the late W. L. Stone, Esq., of New York, in two vol 
umes, octavo, a valuable contribution to the history of 
the French War, as called in America, but known in 
Europe as the Seven Years War ; to the W-ar of 
American Independence ; and to many subsequent 
wars between the United States and the Northwest 
Indians, as well as to the last war between the United 
States and Great Britain. 



A Desperate Adventure. 65 

The professed object of these Indians was to see if 
they had not in the several combats of the day hit the 
prisoner before them each alleging that he had de 
liberately fired at him three or four times from no 
great distance. Their design, however, was no doubt 
sinister. All the surviving Indians were exceedingly 
exasperated at the severe loss their tribes had just 
sustained. Jacobs, accordingly, to begin the affray, 
seized the prisoner rudely by the arm and attempted 
to turn him round to examine his back. The savage 
was indignantly thrown against the wall, when both 
assailants, placing their hands on their knives and 
hatchets, exclaimed ""We kill you now!" It was 
an awful moment for the assailed. There was no 
witness nor help at hand. The sentinel near the door, 
who had improperly admitted, the Indians, was not 
in view, and perhaps indifferent as to consequences. 
God and his own stout heart must save the American 
from instant butchery. With one mighty spring he 
seized the hilt of a sword with an iron scabbard (easily 
drawn), then springing back he faced the enemy and 
occupied the narrow space between the staircase and 
the opposite wall, but far enough advanced to allow a 
free use of his sword over the depressed balustrade. 



66 Rescue General Sheaffe. 

In tliis strong position he could not be attacked by two 
assailants at once, and he was sure to fell the foremost, 
though he might be assassinated by the second before 
he could recover his sword. At this critical moment 
the parties standing at bay but in act to strike 
Captain Coffin, nephew and aide-de-camp of General 
Sheaffe, entered to conduct some of the prisoners to 
the general s quarters where they were invited to dine. 
The scene spoke for itself. The captain instantly seized 
Jacobs by the collar with one hand, holding a cocked 
pistol in the other. Both Indians, with their weapons, 
now turned upon him, and the American closed in to 
slay the one left by the pistol. The gallant aide-de 
camp had just time to call out the guard! when a 
sergeant and squad rushed in and marched off the 
savages as prisoners. _ It required a strong escort to 
conduct the dinner guests in safety to and from the 
general s quarters, for the village swarmed with exas 
perated Indians. 

At table, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott learned from 
General Sheaffe himself, that he was a native of Bos 
ton, the son of a civil em/ploye of the crown; that 
adopted, when a boy, by Lord Percy (afterward Duke 
of Northumberland), then colonel of the 42d Foot, he 



Volunteers Paroled Gen. Broetfs Funeral. 67 

was sent to England for his education, and that the 
duke continued his patron through his whole military 
career. The general added, that although he had 
never owed allegiance to the United States, yet anx 
ious to avoid engaging in hostilities with Americans, 
his countrymen by birth, he had early requested to 
be sent to some other theatre of war. For the Battle 
of Queenstown he was made a major-general and 
baronet, and as soon as practicable recalled to Europe. 

All volunteer officers and men, among the Ameri 
can prisoners, were paroled and sent home. The regu 
lars of every rank were retained and embarked for 
Quebec. Before sailing, the remains of General Brock 
were buried with all the honors of war, in a bastion of 
Fort George, at the upper edge of Newark. Lieuten 
ant-Colonel Scott, out of respect for the very high char 
acter of the deceased, sent over a request to the Ameri 
can fort (Niagara) opposite, to fire minute guns during 
the British solemnities, and thus there was a long-con 
tinued roar of American and British cannon in honor 
of a fallen hero. 

In the following campaign (1813), Fort George was 
captured by the autobiographer, then colonel, and en 
larged, in part, by him, according to a plan of the engi- 



68 Fort George. 

neer, Captain Totten. Great care was taken by both 
not to disturb the bastion in which the remains of Gen 
eral Brock lay interred. A word more, in connection 
with the foregoing, may, perhaps, be pardoned. So late 
as 1860, a resident of New Jersey and the Highlands 
of New York (W. E. Baldwin, Esq.), presented to the 
autobiographer the identical pistols (as is well estab 
lished by respectable evidence) that were in General 
Brock s holsters at the* time of his fall. His body, 
partly under his dead horse, was, for a time, in the 
possession of the Americans. (Arms of every kind, 
gorgets, sashes, and spurs are lawful trophies of war.) 



CHAPTER VII... 

KINGSTON PEESCOTT MONTREAL QUEBEC SAILED FOE 

HOME GUT OF CANSO WASHINGTON. 

THE regular prisoners passed at Kingston from ves 
sels of war to rowboats, and under a strong guard 
descended the St. Lawrence, marching around the 
more dangerous rapids.* At Prescott, opposite to 

* A singular rudeness was experienced in passing around the Long 
Saut, on the edge of a Caledonian settlement all Catholics. Their priest, 
attracted by the name and rank of Lieutenant-Colonel Scott, reproached 
him severely as a traitor to George III. Perceiving his sacerdotal charac 
ter, a condescending explanation and reply was given, without effect. In 
1827, Major-General Scott being at Buffalo, on board of a government 
steamer about to ascend the lakes, her master asked permission to re 
ceive in the cabin, for his benefit, a bishop and two priests. It was grant 
ed. General Scott at once discovered in the prelate his reviler at the Long 
Saut. Suppressing the discovery he invited the party to his separate 
table, and did his best to overwhelm the Right Reverend gentleman with 
hospitality and courtesy a Christian s revenge. 



70 Prescott Noble Coquet of a Prvvateer. 

Ogdensburg, I was taken into the quarters of the com 
mander of the post, Colonel Pearson, who had just 
arrived from England. Expecting a night attack by 
the militia, at Ogdensburg, opposite, the commander 
slept but little, and that on the prisoner s pallet two 
blankets and a cloak, Pearson s own baggage not 
being up. No one exceeded this gallant officer in 
courtesy and amiability. To soothe his prisoner, de 
pressed by his condition, and disappointed at not being 
rescued by the militia at Ogdensburg, he told the story 
of his own recent capture and noble treatment by an 
American privateer. On board of a transport ship, 
with his young wife, he fell in with the , Cap 
tain , and being without heavy guns, surren 
dered after the first fire. Captain , with a 

party, boarded the prize, when learning that Mrs. 
Pearson was thrown into a state of premature labor, 
he placed a sentinel at the cabin door, and left to the 
colonel an absolute control over all within it giving 
such aid as was called for. The colonel was also de 
sired to mark everything that belonged to him, with 
his name, and assured that all should be held sacred 
as private property. In sight of an American port, 
the prize was recaptured and taken to Halifax, where 



Courtesies and Discourtesies. 71 

the colonel acquitted himself of the debt of liberality 
by his conduct to the American prize crew.* 

The Queenstown prisoners experienced much cour 
tesy from other British commanders : from the old and 
infirm Colonel Leftbridge, who was at the head of the 
guard in the boats down to Montreal; from Major- 
General Glasgow, the commander of Quebec, a fine old 
soldier, and others. The remarkable exception was in 
the Governor-General of the Provinces Lieuten ant- 
General, Sir George Prevost who, being of an Ameri 
can family, behaved like a renegade in causing the 
prisoners to be marched, on their arrival at Montreal, 
along the front of its garrison, drawn up in line of bat 
tle, and by slights and neglects which excited contempt 
and loathing. As a soldier, he was signally disgraced, 
subsequently, at Sackett s Harbor and Plattsburg. 

A scene occurred, at Quebec, respecting the Ameri 
can prisoners, which led to a correspondence, to legis 
lation, and other results of great national interest and 
importance. The story, though told in Mansfield s 

* At the Battle of Chippewa, in 1814, Colonel Pearson commanded the 
right wing of the British army, and subsequently was, as a general officer, 
Lieutenant-Governor of Gibraltar. He, up to his death, remained the friend 
of his prisoner (for a night) at Prescott. 



72 Sequestration of Prisoners. 

well-written life of the autobiographer, on notes and 
documents supplied by the latter, is necessarily repro 
duced in this place, but with some corrections and 
additions. 

The Americans being, November 20, 1812, paroled 
and embarked for Boston, a commission of several 
persons came on board, under the instructions of Sir 
George Prevost to sequester and to retain, as traitors, 
every prisoner, who, judging by speech or other evi 
dence, might appear to have been born a British sub 
ject. Lieutenant-Colonel Scott being engaged in the 
cabin, heard a commotion on deck, when hurrying up, 
he found that twenty-odd of his men had already been 
selected for trial, and all much grieved and alarmed. 
He instantly stopped further examinations by com 
manding absolute silence on the part of the prisoners ; 
had an altercation with the commissioners ; explained 
to the sequestered the reciprocal obligation of allegi 
ance and protection; assured them that the United 
States Government would not fail to look to their 
safety, and in case of their punishment, as was threat 
ened, to retaliate amply. Not another man was added 
to those previously selected, then, nor on any subsequent 
occasion. 



Hostages and Retaliation. 73 

To finish this story without regard to chronology : 
the lieutenant-colonel arrived at Washington (where 
he found himself exchanged) in January, 1813, on the 
evening of a reception at the President s. The warm 
greeting given him was scarcely over, when he, with 
some animation, mentioned to the President the case 
of the sequestered prisoners. Several members of Con 
gress eagerly listened to the narrative, when instruc 
tions were given to report the whple case, officially, to 
the Secretary of "War. Hence the following letter, 
dated January 13, 1813 : 

Lieutenant- Colonel Scott to the Secretary of War.* 
"Sm: 

" I think it my duty to lay "before the Department 
that, on the arrival at Quebec of the American prison 
ers of war surrendered at Queenstown, they were mus 
tered and examined by British officers appointed to 
that duty, and every native-born of the United King 
doms of Great Britain and Ireland sequestered, and 
sent on board a ship of war then in the harbor. The 
vessel in a few days thereafter sailed for England, with 

* American State Papers, vol. iii., p. 634, as published under an act 
of Congress. 

4 



74 Hostages and Retaliation. 

these prisoners on board. Between fifteen and twen 
ty * were thus taken from us, natives of Ireland, sev 
eral of whom were known by their platoon officers to 
be naturalized citizens of the United States, and others 
to have been long residents within the same. One in 
particular, whose name has escaped me, besides having 
complied with all the conditions of our naturalization 
laws, was represented by his officers to have left a wife 
and five children, all of them born within the State of 
!N~ew York. 

" I distinctly understood, as well from the officers 
who came on board the prison ship for the above pur 
poses, as from others with whom I remonstrated on 
this subject, that it was the determination of the Brit 
ish Government, as expressed through Sir George Pre- 
vost, to punish every man whom it might subject to its 
power, found in arms against the British king con 
trary to his native allegiance." 

This report was promptly communicated to Con 
gress, which, followed up by the solicitations of the 
writer, led to the passage of the act, March 3, 1813, 

* There were, in fact, twenty-three, as stated in the text. 



Hostages and Retaliation. 75 

"vesting in the President of the United States the 
power of retaliation in certain cases." 

It so chanced that in a few months the writer of 
that report, at the capture of Fort George (May 27), 
made a great number of prisoners, when, as adjutant- 
general and chief of the staff, with the rank of colonel, 
he selected and confined an equal number of the cap 
tured Englishmen, to abide the fate of the Americans 
sent to England for trial. 

Earl Bathurst to Sir George Prevost.* 

" DOWNING STREET, August 12, 1813. 

" SIR: 

" I have had the honor of receiving your despatch 
No. 66, of the 6th of June, enclosing a letter addressed 
to your excellency by Major-General Dearborn. In 
this letter it is stated, that the American commissary 
of prisoners in London, had made it known to his Gov 
ernment that twenty-three soldiers of the 1st, 6th, and 
13th regiments of United States infantry, made prison 
ers, had been sent to England and held in close con 
finement as British subjects ; and that Major-General 
Dearborn had received instructions from his Govern- 

* American State Papers, vol. iii., pp. 640, 641. 



76 Hostages and Retaliation. 

merit to put into close confinement twenty-three Brit 
ish soldiers, to be kept as hostages for the safe-keeping 
and restoration, in exchange, of the soldiers of the 
United States who had been sent, as above stated, to 
England; and General Dearborn apprises you that, 
in obedience to these instructions, he had put twenty- 
three British soldiers in close confinement, to be kept 
as hostages. 

" The persons referred to in this letter were soldiers 
serving in the American army, taken prisoners at 
Queenstown, and sent home by you, that they might 
be disposed of according to the pleasure of His Royal 
Highness the Prince Regent, they having declared 
themselves to be British-born subjects. Your excel 
lency has been directed to send home the necessary 
evidence upon this point, and they are held in custody 
to undergo a legal trial. 

" You will lose no time in communicating to Major- 
General Dearborn that you have transmitted home a 
copy of his letter to you, and that you are, in conse 
quence, instructed distinctly to state to him, that you 
have received the commands of His Royal Highness 
the Prince Regent, forthwith to put in close confine 
ment forty-six American officers and non-commissioned 



Hostages and Retaliation. 77 

officers, to be held as l^tages for the safe-keeping of 
the twenty- three British soldiers stated to have been 
put in close confinement by order of the American 
Government ; and you will at the same time apprise 
him, that if any of the said British soldiers shall suffer 
death by reason that the soldiers now under confine 
ment here have been found guilty, and that the known 
law, not only of Great Britain, but of every indepen 
dent state under like circumstances, has been in conse 
quence executed, you have been instructed to select out 
of the American officers and non-commissioned officers 
whom you shall have put into close confinement, as 
many as may double the number of British soldiers 
who shall so unwarrantably have been put to death, 
and cause such officers and non-commissioned officers 
to suffer death immediately. 

" And you are further instructed to notify to Major- 
General Dearborn, that the commanders of His Majes 
ty s fleets and armies on the coasts of America, have 
received instructions to prosecute the war with unmiti 
gated severity against all cities, towns, and villages, 
belonging to the United States, and against the inhab 
itants thereof, if, after this communication shall have 
been duly made to Major-General Dearborn, and a 



78 Bitter English Feeling in America. 

reasonable time given for ifcs teing transmitted to the 
American Government, that Government shall un 
happily not be deterred from putting to death any of 
the soldiers who now are, or who may hereafter be, 
kept as hostages, for the purposes stated in the letter 
from Major-General Dearborn. 

" I have the honor to be, 

"BATHURST." 

The haughty tone of this letter may be accounted 
for by remembering ther disasters of the Russian cam 
paign, in which Napoleon lost by frost in the retreat 
from Moscow, the flower of his army; to the vie- 
tories of Wellington in the Peninsula, which opened 
exhausted France to invasion, and to the assembling, 
at the moment, of the elite of the armies of continen 
tal Europe upon Dresden, to give the coup de grace to 
the falling emperor. 

Much of that bitterness of English feeling prevailed, 
at the time, in one of the American parties. The Hon 
orable Alexander C. Hanson, M. C., from Maryland, in 
a speech in the House of Representatives, February 14, 
1814, after remarking that " the impressment of Brit 
ish seamen from American vessels was the vital point " 



Denunciation of the War. 79 

in the war next echoed the sentiments of Lord Ba- 
thurst, thus : 

* " Mr. Chairman upon this question of impress 
ment, allegiance, protection, and naturalization, which 
has been connected with it, gentlemen here may fret, 
rail, and argue, until doomsday. They may set up 
new-fangled doctrines, and deny old and established 
principles, but as far as depends on the opinions of the 
ablest jurists, and the practice of the oldest regular 
governments, the point in controversy is long ago set 
tled. It is immutably determined. 

[Here he cited " the fundamental maxim of the law 
of England " " perpetual allegiance " " once a sub 
ject, always a subject."] 

" !Nbw, sir," continued Mr. Hanson, " I am pre 
pared to go a step farther than has been deemed neces 
sary from the actual case presented to our consider 
ation. I say, that an Englishman, naturalized or not 
by our laws, if found in arms against his native coun 
try, is a traitor by the laws of his native country. I 
do not confine the position to British subjects natural 
ized here, and made captives within the dominions of 

* Carpenter s Select American Speeches, vol. ii., pp. 425-431. 



80 Denunciation of the War. 

their sovereign, where the arm of protection cannot be 
extended ; but, if the armies of the enemy crossed the 
line, and invaded us in turn, and made prisoner a 
Briton found in arms against Britain, he is as much a 
traitor as if taken a prisoner in the heart of the British 
empire. 

" Such men are traitors in the legal, true sense of 
the word, and ought to be treated as such. The good 
of society and the safety of government require it. If, 
to protect them, we resort to a bloody, ferocious, exter 
minating system of retaliation, we shed the innocent 
blood of our own countrymen. 

" I say, then, without reserve, if the President pro 
ceeds in the ruthless, bloody business he has com 
menced, he is answerable, here and hereafter, for all 
the American lives wantonly sacrificed. Posterity will 
pronounce him guilty, and heap maledictions upon his 
name. 

* % % wii eil the party contests of the day are 
forgotten ; when the passions engendered by political 
strife have subsided; when reason shall resume her 
throne, and the present generation is swept into the 
silent tomb, those who live after us will pronounce a 



Retaliatory Measures Successful. 81 

judgment upon the chief actors in this tragedy of 
blood and murder." 



These were dire denunciations of " the chief actors 
in [the] tragedy of blood and murder." Yet Major- 
General Scott, " the head and front of [that] offend 
ing" when in the act of embarking at !N~ew York, 
for Europe, July 9, 1815, had the happiness to meet on 
a pier, in the East River, just from an English prison, 
twenty-one of the identical men taken from him at 
Quebec the other two having died natural deaths! 
It was thus, and not by any subsequent diplomacy of 
the American Department of State, as has sometimes 
been claimed, that Great Britain was forced to yield 
the principle, " once her subject, always her subject " 
on which the soldiers were seized, and hundreds of 
sailors impressed, out of American ships. 

ZsTovember 20, 1812, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott, with 
the remainder of the regular prisoners taken with him 
at Queenstown, sailed from Quebec for Boston, at the 
beginning of a snow storm. Such were the known 
dangers in the navigation of the Gulf of St. Lawrence 
at that late season, that the ship could not have been 
insured at a premium of less than fifty per cent, of her 
4* 



82 Bad Time in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

value. This cartel (British ship) was, however, staunch 
and well commanded. After being blown about at the 
mercy of a succession of gales, she, at the end of twen 
ty-three days, entered the Gut of Canso a natural 
canal, separating Nova Scotia from the Isle of Cape 
Breton and came to anchor in a cove of the latter. 
Both shores were mountainous and uninhabited for an 
indefinite distance, except a single farmhouse in a small 
valley, opposite to the cove and near the water. This 
was occupied by Mr. Pain, a second Robinson Crusoe. 
He had sailed from Boston in a smack for the banks 
of Newfoundland and other fishing grounds, in 1774:, 
before the outbreak of the Revolution. Having made 
up the cargo in the Gut of Canso, Pain begged his 
companions to let him remain till the return of the 
party the following season. They assisted in building 
him a hut, and left with him a good supply of personal 
and bed clothes, some axes and other tools, a gun, with 
ammunition, fishing tackle, and such other stores as 
could be spared together with a Bible, " Paradise Lost," 
and " The Pilgrim s Progress." Prayers were said at 
parting, and the smack sailed for home. This was the 
last that our adventurer saw of " the human face di 
vine," till the end of nine or ten years. The Revolu- 



A Second Robinson Crusoe. 83 

tionary "War supervened. There was no more fishing 
and curing of fish by Americans on those shores the 
Gut of Canso at that period not being navigated except 
by vessels driven into it by stress of weather. There 
was no road and no trail across the mountains to any 
settlement whatever. 

For the first year, and, indeed, till his supplies be 
gan to fail him, Mr. Pain, then young, did not lament 
his condition. But when the second and third seasons 
came, and again and again there was no return of his 
friends, it seemed evident they had abandoned him ; 
his spirits drooped, and he was in danger of being lost 
in despair. Like Alexander Selkirk in similar circum 
stances, he might have exclaimed : 

" I am monarch of all I survey, 

My right there is none to dispute ; 
From the centre all round to the sea, 
I am lord of the fowl and the brute. 

" solitude ! where are the charms, 

That sages have seen in thy face ? 

Better dwell in the midst of alarms, 

Than reign in this horrible place. 

" I am out of humanity s reach, 

I must finish my journey alone, 
Never hear the sweet music of speech 
I start at the sound of my own. 



84 Life m Solitude. 

" The beasts that roam over the plain, 

My form with indifference see ; 
They are so unacquainted with man, 
Their tameness is shocking to me. 



But man is the most flexible and pliable of all ani 
mals. According to his own account, Mr. Pain soon 
learned to relish food without salt ; the moose deer and 
fleecy goat were abundant, furnishing him with both 
food and raiment, and which he contrived to entrap 
after his powder and shot were exhausted. So, too, in 
respect to wornout hooks and lines : these were re 
placed by bones and slips of skins, so that there was no 
want of the " finny prey." By the fifth year he began 
to like this new life as well as at first. His books were 
more than a solace to him, and the autobiographer can 
testify that he could accurately recite, from memory, 
entire chapters of the Bible, and many of the books of 
" Paradise Lost." Finally, when, at the end of the war, 
his old master in a smack came in search of him or his 
remains, he had become so attached to this new mode 
of existence that he refused to return to his native soil. 
A good supply of necessaries was again left with him. 
His little property at home was invested in cattle, 
with materials for a small house, some furniture, etc. 



Scurvy Gut of Canso. 85 

all of which were sent out to him, with an old sister, 
a farm laborer, and a lad a relative. Before 1812, 
some new connections and laborers had joined him, 
and he had become a thrifty farmer.* 

The provisions for the paroled soldiers, by the neg 
lect of the British commissariat, proved to be bad. 
The salt beef and pork had become rusty, and the 
bread worm-eaten. This food had been on board, per 
haps, a twelvemonth, and a part of the time in a hot 
climate. The scurvy soon appeared among the sol 
diers. Lieutenant-Colonel Scott threw in his personal 
stores (fresh beef, bread, onions, and potatoes), too 
small a stock to produce much benefit. But a fine ox, 
some sheep, and a hundred bushels of potatoes, bought 
of Farmer Pain, proved a godsend, stopping the disease 
at once. 

* It is not known that any memoir or notice of this interesting adven 
turer has ever been published. 



CHAPTEK YIII. 

COLONEL AND ADJUTANT - GENERAL FORT GEORGE OG- 

DENSBURG HOOP-POLE CREEK FRENCH MILLS. 

IT has already been stated that Lieutenant-Colonel 
Scott, on arriving at Washington in January, 1813, 
found himself exchanged. After a short interval, he 
was ordered to Philadelphia to take command of 
another battalion of his regiment (a double one twen 
ty companies) then nearly ready for the field. In the 
month of March he was appointed adjutant-general, 
with the rank of colonel, and promoted to the colonel 
cy of his regiment about the same time. He continued 
to hold the two commissions for several months, occa 
sionally quitting the staff for hours or a day to com 
mand his own and other troops in battles, skirmishes, 



Niagara Led the Forlorn Hope. 87 

and forrays. With his battalion lie had joined the 
army under the command of Major-General Dearborn, 
on the Niagara frontier, early in May, and, as the chief 
of his staff, first organized the service among all the 
staff departments, several of which were new and 
others unknown in the United States since the Revo 
lutionary War. In this labor he was greatly aided by 
an early edition of Theibault s Manuel General du Ser 
vice des fitats-Majors Generaux, etc. 

The first general movement of this army had for its 
object, by the capture of Fort George, to make the left 
bank of the Niagara the basis of further operations. 
That work, on the river side, had been much damaged, 
May 26, by the batteries of Captains Towson and 
Archer (of Scott s regiment) at Youngstown, opposite. 
Accordingly, on the next day, an embarkation com 
menced from a creek three miles east of the Niagara, 
some time before daylight. Colonel Scott led the ad 
vance guard or forlorn hope, composed of a battalion 
of his own regiment acting as grenadiers, and a small 
er one, under Lieutenant-Colonel McFeely of the 22d 
Infantry, and was followed by field batteries under 
Colonel Moses Porter; Boyd s, Chandler s, and Win 
der s brigades, and a rear guard (or reserve) under 



88 Descent on Lake SJiore. 

Colonel Macomb making a force of about four thou 
sand seven hundred men. The point of descent was 
the lake shore, a half mile (or more) west of the mouth 
of the river. Commodore Chauncey s fleet stood in 
as near as practicable, and by its fire, kept the enemy, 
under Brigadier-General Vincent, back a little, till the 
Americans, when near the shore, became a shield against 
that fire. 

The wind was fresh and the surf high. Captain 
Perry, an old friend of Scott, who, from Lake Erie, 
had joined Chauncey as a volunteer, for the day, kind 
ly took Scott in his gig and piloted the boats of the 
advance guard through the surf and the brisk fire of 
the enemy. The beach was narrow and the bank pre 
cipitous from seven to eleven feet high, affording, 
generally, but slight foothold to climbers. The first 
attempt at ascent was repulsed by the bayonet, and 
Scott, among others, tumbled backward. Major-Gen 
eral Dearborn, a fine old soldier, saw, from the fleet, 
the fall, and honored the supposed loss of the chief of 
his staff with a tear. At the second attempt the bank 
was scaled with a loss of every fifth man killed or 
wounded ; the line of battle was reformed, and a furi 
ous charge made that drove more than twice the num- 



Battle of Fwt George. SO 

ber of the enemy out of sight. This could not have 
been done but for the intimidation caused by the fleet 
of rowboats seen following in Scott s wake. Porter 
and Boyd soon landed. ISTot a horse accompanied the 
expedition; but Scott, mounted on the charger of a 
colonel, a prisoner, had, in pursuing the enemy, to 
thread the village circumspectly, which gave time for 
Colonel Miller of the 6th Infantry (Boyd s brigade) to 
unite with the advance. Passing Fort George, now 
untenable and still under the fire of the American bat 
teries at Youngstown, two fugitives were observed who 
had just escaped from the fort. Scott, singly, charged 
and made them throw down their arms. They ir 
formed him that nearly all the garrison had, fifteen 
minutes before, joined the enemy s retreat up the river, 
and that the few men remaining were spiking the guns 
and applying slow matches to the bastion magazines. 
Desirous to save these, he ordered that Captains Hind- 
man and Stockton s companies (of his own regiment) 
should join him at the fort, and that the remainder of 
the column should continue the pursuit. At his near 
approach, one of the magazines exploded. Horse and 
rider being both struck by splinters, the latter was 
thrown to the ground, with a broken collar bone and 



90 Capture of the Fort. 

some bruises. Nevertheless, aided by his two prison 
ers the detachment from the column being nearly up 
Scott was the first to enter the fort. The last of the 
garrison escaped at the same moment. Hindman and 
Stockton flew to the two unexploded magazines just in 
time to pluck away the burning matches, while Scott 
took the colors with his own hands.* 

In a moment he was again in the saddle, and re 
joined his pursuing column already in the midst of the 
enemy s stragglers. Opposite to the Five Mile Meadow 
(that distance from the mouth of the river) Scott met 
Colonel Burn (his senior colonel), who had just crossed 
over with a troop of his Light Dragoons. Another 
troop was approaching in boats, and Scott agreed to 
wait for it, as Burn conceded to him the command. 
This enabled Brigadier-General Boyd personally to 
overtake and order the whole pursuing force back to 
Fort George, against the remonstrances of Scott, who 
assured him (as he had replied to a like order pre 
viously received from Major-General Lewis) that, with 



* The down-haul halliard of the colors had been shot away by the 
opposite batteries. Hence the retreating garrison had nearly cut down 
the flagstaff, when obliged to fly, leaving the axe hi position. With this 
in his hand Scott soon brought to the ground the coveted trophy. 



Pursuit of the Enenny Stopped. 91 

the recnforcement of the Light Dragoons, he could cap 
ture the disorganized army then less than a mile ahead 
of him. Boyd, acting under instructions, insisted on 
an immediate return ! And thus terminated the bat 
tle of Fort George, May 27, 1813.* 

Colonel Scott now limited himself mainly to his 
staff duties. The disaster of the 6th of June, at Stony 
Creek, resulting in the capture of the American gen 
erals, Chandler and "Winder, though the enemy was re 
pulsed, caused Major-General Dearborn to send up his 
second in rank, Lewis, with Scott, to that headless 
army \ a renewed attack upon it being imminent. 

* Early in the pursuit (near the lake) Scott came up with a wounded 
colonel, just made a prisoner, and after giving directions for his safety 
and comfort, borrowed the charger before mentioned. Calling to restore 
the property, and to provide for his wants, the Englishman handsomely 
observed : " We have reversed our relative positions of the last autumn. 
Allow me, in the way of apology, to say that you can now see the Falls 
of Niagara in all their splendor " alluding to what he had said to Scott 
when the latter was the prisoner, viz. : that Scott, who had said some 
thing on the subject must win a great battle before he could have that 
enjoyment. This sarcastic remark was sharply rebuked at the time, both 
by the offended party and the British general, Sheaffe, at whose table it 
was made. 

f This extraordinary result irresistibly brings to mind the siege of 
Cremona in 1702. Prince Eugene, by a singular stratagem, entered that 
city in the night, at the head of a competent force ; but was finally driven 
out by the gallant French garrison, without other loss than that of their 



92 Stony Creek Disaster Scott to the Rear Guard. 

On the capture of Chandler and Winder, letters 
came down from that army to headquarters, at Fort 
George, requesting that Colonel Scott might be sent 
up to command it.. But as he arrived with a major- 
general (Lewis) and a retreat was soon ordered from 
below, the general cry was heard Scott to the rear 
guard! That post of honor was given him, and the 
march of forty-odd miles, though flanked by hostile 

commander, Marshal Due de Villeroi, who being captured and secured 
at the very entrance of the Austrians, gave the garrison its triumph. 
Madame de Stael, on the subject of Russian despotism, wittily said it was 
tempered and checked by the salutary practice of assassination applied 
to odious czars. So among the French, before the Revolution, with their 
keen perception of the witty and the ludicrous : a bon-mot, a jeu cFesprit, 
anonymously circulated, often rebuked and held in defiance the meditated 
designs and absolutism of the court. Villeroi, the foster-brother and only 
acknowledged favorite Louis XTV ever had, was made to feel this power, 
when laid on the shelf and rendered harmless for a time by the following 
epigram : 

" Francais, rendez grace a Bellone. 

Votre bonheur est sans egal ; 

Vous avez conserv6 Cremone 

Et perdu votre general." 

Winder s was a hard fate, both at Stony Creek and (next year) at Bla- 
densburg. With the elements of a good soldier, he, like Colonel Drayton, 
though poor, sacrificed to patriotism an extensive law practice, which was 
not recovered after the war. It is a misfortune to begin a new career 
with too much rank, or rather, too late in life. 



Capture of Boersiler Recall of Dearborn. 93 

Indians on one side, and by the British fleet on the 
other, was uninterrupted. 

Another disaster to our arms soon followed. Colonel 
Boerstler, June 23, 1813, was detached with some six 
hundred men, of all arms, to attack a post at the Beaver 
Dams, near Queenstown, on the road thence to the head 
of Lake Ontario. The same day the whole of this 
force, falling into an ambuscade, was captured. 

These misadventures deeply affected the health and 
spirits of Major-General Dearborn who, before, had 
been much disordered by the lake fever. An order of 
recall soon reached him from the War Department. 
The officers of his army, remembering his high moral 
worth,~his patriotism, valor, and military distinction at 
Bunker Hill, Quebec, Monmouth, Yorktown, etc., etc., 
deeply sympathized with their venerable chief, and re 
quested Colonel Scott to be, at the moment of separa 
tion, the organ of their sentiments. A short, emphatic 
valedictory did much to soothe a wounded heart. 

Major-General Lewis having been previously sent 
to Sackett s Harbor, the command on the Niagara basis 
now devolved on Brigadier-General Boyd courteous, 
amiable, and respectable, as a subordinate; but vacil 
lating and imbecile, beyond all endurance, as a chief 



94 Boyd in Command Inactivity. 

under high responsibilities. Fortunately, the British 
general-in-chief, then Major-General de Kottenburg, 
and his second, Yincent, were equally wanting in en 
terprise and execution. The Secretary of War, General 
Armstrong, a great military critic and judge of charac 
ter, instructed Boyd to intrench his army, and not to 
seek a conflict, but await the arrival of Major-General 
Wilkinson * from New Orleans. 

Thus the army of Niagara, never less than four 
thousand strong, stood fixed, in a state of ignominy for 
some two months, under Boyd, within five miles of an 
unintrenched enemy with never more than three thou 
sand five hundred men ! 

This long inactivity was slightly enlivened by two 
night demonstrations of the enemy, in which some of 
the American * pickets were driven in; by one affair 
between Indians of the opposing armies, and by a 
dozen or more skirmishes, growing out of foraging 
operations, several of which turned out rather serious 
affairs. In most of these, Scott, without always seek 
ing the service, either commanded originally, or was, 

* The selection of this unprincipled imbecile was not the blunder of 
Secretary Armstrong. Wilkinson, whose orders were dated March 10, 
1813, contrived not to reach Fort George till the 4th of September! 



Foragvng Indian Affairs. 95 

at the first shot, sent out with reinforcements, when, 
by seniority, the command devolved upon him. For 
tunately, though always attacked, he never lost a pris 
oner or a wagon, and always returned with a loaded 
train. These successes in la petite guerre came near 
fixing upon him the character of a partisan officer, 
whereas it was his ambition to conduct sieges and com 
mand in open fields, serried lines, and columns. 

It is not remembered that the American friendly 
Indians were allowed to take part in that war except 
on the one occasion alluded to above. A little while 
before his recall, Maj or -General Dearborn assembled, 
in council, the Seneca and other Indian chiefs, residing 
near Buffalo, when they were invited to furnish a few 
hundred auxiliaries in the existing campaign, to serve 
the purposes of watching the legions of British Indians, 
of interpreting their movements and intentions, and 
specially to prevail upon them to return to their native 
wilds leaving the white belligerents, alone, to kill 
each other in the settlement of their own peculiar 
quarrel. Scott opened the council on the part of the 
general, and was replied to by Red Jacket the great 
orator as well as warrior among the red men. He was 
perfectly ready for all enterprises of hazard promising 



96 Indi<m Adventure. 

distinction; but the sarcastic heathen all the other 
principal chiefs were Christians could not forbear, in 
terpreting the invitation in his own way help us to 
beat the British producing a contradictory letter from 
General Dearborn, written early in 1812, as Secretary 
of War, in which neutrality, in the approaching hos 
tilities, was strictly enjoined on the part of all Ameri 
can Indians. Nevertheless, the auxiliaries under the 
Farmer s Brother, the venerable head chief; Pollard, 
the leader of the Christian party ; and Red Jacket, the 
leader of the heathens, all promptly joined the army at 
Fort George. They contrived several interviews with 
many chiefs of the British Indians ; but failed to per 
suade them to a pacific course. The Farmer s Brother, 
in the name of all his people, then solicited permission, 
before returning home, to attack one of the hostile In 
dian camps a little distance apart from the British 
regulars. This was granted, though the Americans, 
intrenched, were now under the injunction to stand on 
the defensive ; and Scott, as adjutant-general, was de 
sired to instruct the Indians not to kill prisoners, and 
not to scalp the dead. Pollard and the other Chris 
tians readily acquiesced, and demanded cords and 
strings for tying their captives. Red Jacket and his 



Indian Success. 97 

pagan followers asked to be similarly prepared for suc 
cess, when all set forward in high spirits, and to the 
great amusement of the army. A battalion of infantry 
had been advanced halfway to the enemy s camp, some 
three miles off, to serve as a shield and support, in case 
the gallant assailants should be repulsed and hotly pur 
sued. Passing the battalion, the Indians not under 
standing injunctions not to fight, in time of war! 
called out Come along what! are you afraid? 
Conceive the deep humiliation; for the commander 
of the support was the distinguished Major William 
Gumming brave, intellectual, and of sensibilities 
almost morbid. 

In the American camp, all were on the tiptoe of 
anxiety and expectation ; but soon sharp cracks of 
rifles were heard, followed by a more painful silence. 
There was not an officer, nor a man who would not 
have been happy, if permitted, to rush out of the in- 
trenchments to support his red friends. In thirty 
minutes, however, shouts of triumph began to approach 
nearer and nearer. The enemy s (Indian) camp had 
been surprised, many of his red men killed or wounded, 
and sixteen made prisoners. When these were seen, 
each closely pinioned and led by a string, the novel 
5 



98 Quits the Staff Embarks with Chauncey. 

spectacle produced such roars of delight as to be heard 
from camp to camp. 

Finding his position at headquarters, for the reasons 
already given, disgusting, Scott, about midsummer, re 
signed his adjutant-generalcy, and limited himself to 
the command of troops his own regiment and others. 

Early in September it was determined to make a 
joint expedition against Burlington Heights, in rear 
of the British army, where it was supposed would be 
found large magazines of materiel and other important 
stores, guarded by a limited force ; and Scott, with a 
competent detachment, was embarked on board of 
Commodore Chauncey s fleet for their capture. A 
landing and search were made, but nothing of value 
was there. It being now certain that the enemy s 
grand depot of supplies was at York (Toronto), the 
capital of Upper Canada captured and evacuated by 
General Dearborn in the preceding April Chauncey 
and Scott resolved to make a second descent upon that 
place. The latter, with the land troops and marines, 
debarked and drove out the garrison after a sharp 
rencounter the fortifications had not been renewed; 
and formed a cordon of pickets and sentinels, while 
the commodore emptied the public storehouses of their 



Second Capture of Little York. 99 

abundant contents. Learning that there were many 
political offenders confined in the jail, Scott caused 
them (some were Americans) to be sent on board the 
fleet ; but gave special instructions to leave all felons 
persons charged with offences against morals to abide 
their fate. 

On reembarking, he learned that some of the sailors 
had brought off from the public storehouses a few 
trunks, belonging to British officers the contents of 
which uniforms, etc., he now saw flaunting about the 
decks. Causing the broken and emptied trunks to be 
brought to him, he found left in one, marked with the 
name of General Sheafie a mass of public and private 
papers. The latter, unread, were carefully separated, 
and sent to the British headquarters. A sailor, who 
witnessed the investigation, showed the colonel the 
miniature of a beautiful lady, set in gold, taken out of 
another trunk that had upon it the name of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Harvey. It was concluded that this must be 
the likeness of the lieutenant-colonel s young bride. 
Colonel Scott bought it of the sympathizing sailor for 
a small sum, and sent it to the gallant husband, with 
Sheaffe s private papers.* 

* It was Harvey that surprised and captured Chandler and Winder at 



100 Left ly both Armies at Fort George. 

On the arrival of Major-General "Wilkinson at Fort 
George, September 4, 1813, Scott, as an official obliga 
tion, called upon him and gave assurance that he should 
continue to execute, with zeal and alacrity, all duties 
that might be assigned to him. In less than a month 
(October 2) Wilkinson and nearly the whole regular 
force on the Niagara moved down Lake Ontario in the 
further prosecution of the campaign. Scott was left in 
command of Fort George, with some seven hundred 
regulars, and a detachment of Colonel Swift s regiment 
of militia. One entire side of the fort then under 
going an extension was still perfectly open. The 
enemy remaining in undiminished force, within five 
miles, and whom Wilkinson had declined to attack 
could not be ignorant of the weakness of Scott s posi 
tion. An early assault seemed, therefore, inevitable. 
Each officer (including the commander) and man 
worked upon the defences from fourteen to twenty 
hours a day. By the fourth night, however, so great 

Stony Creek, in June. Scott was personally acquainted with him. Each, 
as chief of the staff, in his own army, was the correspondent of the other 
on the official business common to their commanders. In that way they 
had personally met with escorts, and under flags of truce. The intimacy 
thus formed was turned to a good account (in 1839), as will be seen in the 
sequel. 



Scotfs Report. 101 

had been the progress of these labors, that all became 
anxious for an attack. (The following official reports, 
taken from American State Papers Military Affairs, 
pp. 482, 483, will carry forward the narrative as far 
as relates to the autobiographer.) 

From Colonel Winfield Scott, of the 2d Artillery, to 
Major- General Wilkinson. 

"FORT GEORGE, October 11, 1813. 

" Within the last five minutes I have had the honor 
to receive your despatch by the Lady of the Lake, Cap 
tain Mix. 

" The enemy has treated me with neglect. He con 
tinued in his old position until Saturday last (the 9th 
inst.), when he took up his retreat on Burlington 
Heights, and has abandoned the whole peninsula. 
Two causes are assigned for this precipitate movement 
the succor of Proctor, who is reported to be entirely 
defeated, if not taken ; the other, the safety of King 
ston, end c tngered by your movement. 

" We nave had from the enemy many deserters, 
most of whom concur in the latter supposition. 

"The British burnt everything in store in this 
neighborhood; three thousand blankets, many hun- 



102 Report to Wilkinson Continued. 

dred stand of arms; also the blankets in the men s 
packs, and every article of clothing not in actual use. 

" They are supposed to have reached Burlington 
Heights last evening, from the rate of their march the 
night before. I have information of their having passed 
* the 40 * by several inhabitants who have come down. 
They add to what was stated by the deserters, that two 
officers of the 41st had joined General Yincent from 
Proctor s army, with information that Proctor was -de 
feated eighteen miles this side of Maiden. I cannot 
get particulars. 

" From the same sources of intelligence it appears 
that the 49th, a part of the 100th, and the Yoltigeurs, 
moved from this neighborhood the day after our flotilla 
left this, the 3d inst. ; but with what destination is not 
certainly known. 

" It was first reported (I mean in the British camp) 
that these regiments had marched to support Proctor, 
who, it is said, wrote that he would be compelled to 
surrender, if not supported.f 

* Forty Mile Creek that distance from Niagara, 
f Proctor was defeated, and the British and Indian force in the north 
west routed, on the 5th of October, 1813. 

The rumor which Scott speaks of was six days after the event, and 



Report to Wilkinson Continued. 103 

" I am pretty sure, however, that they are gone be 
low. The movement of our army seems to have been 
known in the British lines as early as the 3d inst., to 
gether with the immediate objects- in view : hence I 
have no difficulty in concluding that all the movements 
of the enemy will concentrate at Kingston. 

****! had made this morning an arrange 
ment, on application to General McClure, to be re 
lieved in the command of this post, on the morning 
of the 13th inst., with an intention of taking up my 
line of march for Sackett s Harbor, according to the 
discretion allowed me in the instructions I had the 
honor to receive from you at this place. My situation 
has become truly insupportable, without the possibility 
of an attack at this post, and without the possibility of 
reaching you in time to share in the glory of impend 
ing operations below. I am, however, nattered with 
the assurance that transports will be forwarded for my 
removal ; and to favor that impression, I propose taking 
up my line of march on the morning of the IcJth for 
the mouth of Genesee River, and there await the arrival 
of the vessels you are good enough to promise me. By 

was no doubt brought in either by officers or Indians from the defeated 
army. 



104 Report to Secretary of War. 

this movement Captain Mix thinks with me, that I 
shall hasten my arrival at Sackett s Harbor five, possi 
bly ten days. Captain Camp * (the quartermaster) has 
a sufficient number of wagons to take me thither. I 
can easily make that place by the evening of the 15th. 
I hope I shall have your approbation, and everything 
is arranged with Brigadier McClure. * * * * I have, 
by working night and day, greatly improved the de 
fences of this post, and nearly filled up the idea of the 
engineer. I natter myself that I have also improved 
the garrison in discipline." * * * * 

Wilkinson s abortive campaign ended, Scott was 
called to Washington for a day or two. 

Extracts of a Letter from Colonel Winfield Scott to the 
Secretary of War. 

" GEORGETOWN, December 31, 1813. 

" At your desire, I have the honor to make the fol 
lowing* report : I left Fort George on the 13th of 
October last, by order of Major-General Wilkinson 
with the whole of the regular troops of the garrison, 

* Colonel J. G. Camp, a distinguished officer in the campaign of 1814, 
on the Niagara. 



Report Continued. 105 

and was relieved by Brigadier-General McClure,* with 
a body of the New York detached militia. 

" Fort George, as a field work, might be considered 
as complete at that period. It was garnished with ten 
pieces of artillery (which number might easily have 
been increased from the spare ordnance of the opposite 
fort), and with an ample supply of ammunition, etc., 
as the enclosed receipt for those articles will exhibit. 

" Fort Niagara, on the 14th of October, was under 
the immediate command of Captain Leonard of the 1st 
artillery, who, besides his own company, had Captain 
Bead s of the same regiment, together with such of 
General McClure s brigade as had refused to cross the 
river. Lieutenant-Colonels Fleming, Bloom, and Dob 
bins, of the militia, had successively been in command 
of this fort, by order of the brigadier-general, but I 
think neither of these was present at the above period. 
Major-General Wilkinson, in his order to me for the 
removal of the regular troops on that frontier, excepted 
the two companies of the 1st artillery, then at Fort 

* On the approach of the enemy, McClure evacuated the fort and 
burnt the adjoining village then Newark, now Niagara. This soon led 
to the devastation of that entire frontier, including Buffalo. So prone are 
men to imitate evil examples ! 
5* 



106 Heavy Ma/rch to Sacketfs Harbor. 

Niagara. And under the supposition that I should 
meet water transportation for my detachment at the 
mouth of Genesee River, I had his orders to take with 
me the whole of the convalescents left in the different 
hospitals by the regiments which had accompanied 
him. This order I complied with." 

Notwithstanding Chauncey s promise to send trans 
ports to the Niagara, and Wilkinson s, to the mouth of 
the Genesee, Scott, on arriving at the latter, found only 
the despatch vessel, The Lady of the Lake, with a let 
ter from the commodore saying that, contrary to his 
entreaties, Wilkinson would not allow any part of the 
fleet to be absent four days without throwing the re 
sponsibility, in case of a failure of his expedition 
wholly on the navy. Hence Scott was forced to con 
tinue his march upon Sackett s Harbor, via Canan- 
daigua, Utica, Booneville, etc. The rainy season had 
commenced, and the bad roads were daily becoming 
worse. Fortunately he met north of Utica the Sec 
retary of War, General Armstrong, returning from 
Sackett s Harbor, who had seen Wilkinson depart 
thence for Montreal ; but thinking that Scott, by leav 
ing his column under the next in rank (Hindman), and 



Passage of Fort Wellington. 107 

striking off to the right, via Malone, might intercept 
the descent gave the colonel permission to make the 
attempt. Riding diligently for some thirty hours, 
with his adjutant Jonathan Kearsley who early won 
the rank of major by distinguished gallantry, but so 
maimed as to be thrown out of the field Scott struck 
the river at Waddington many miles below Ogdens- 
burg where Wilkinson, with his usual dilatoriness, 
had been making preparations to pass the enemy s 
fort Wellington opposite. After a short sleep and 
change of horses, Scott was again in the saddle, and 
reported himself at headquarters November the 6th, 
just in time to pass the enemy s fire in the headmost 
and largest craft in the whole flotilla. The scene was 
most sublime. The roar of cannon was unremitting, 
and darkness rendered visible by the whizzing and 
bursting of shells and Congreve rockets. 

The next {lay Scott was assigned to a fine battalion 
of grenadiers, in the corps d? elite, under the senior 
colonel, Macomb, who was in the advance, and thus 
the former became the commander of the advance of 
that corps which placed him in the lead of the whole 
army. Hastening to his position he found the grena 
diers in boats and pushing off shore. He had but time 



108 Command of the Advance Hooppole Creek. 

to leap aboard, when, being recognized, loud cheers 
welcomed the new commander. 

The first object was to take Fort Matilda, that 
commanded the narrowest point in the St. Lawrence. 
Scott landed about sunset a little above the work, and 
was there met by a detachment of the enemy that 
proved to be the garrison of Matilda believed, by 
them, to be untenable. A sharp affair ensued. The 
advance made some prisoners, among them an officer ; 
killed or wounded many men, and dispersed the re 
mainder. 

Descending the river the advance had, on the llth 
of November a more serious affair at Hooppole Creek, 
a little above Cornwall. Here were met, under Lieu 
tenant-Colonel Dennis, an officer of merit, a force equal 
to Scott s (about eight hundred men) in position to de 
fend the bridge. Leaving Captain McPherson with a 
light field battery other troops were coming up to 
amuse the enemy, Scott stole a march of nearly a mile 
to the left, and forded the creek which, making an 
acute angle with the river below, gave the hope of 
hemming in and capturing the whole of the enemy. 
Dennis discovered the movement in time to save by a 
precipitate retreat the main body of his men. The 



Retreat out of Canada. 109 

rear, however, was cut off, and many stragglers picked 
up in a hot pursuit that was continued into the night. 

This affair, and the disaster at Chrystler s Field, 
fifteen miles in the rear, occurred the same day, and 
were the principal conflicts of Wilkinson s famous cam 
paign begun in boastings, and ended in deep humili 
ation! Montreal was still within the easy grasp of 
half the troops disgraced by their commanders at 
Chrystler s Field; but the fatuity of the general-in- 
chief (and of others) made success almost impossible. 
The army, in disgust, retreated out of Canada; as 
cended the Salmon River, and passed the winter at 
The French Mills since called Fort Covington in 
latitude 45. 



CHAPTEK IX. 

REFLECTIONS ON PAST DISASTERS CALLED TO WASHING 
TON BUFFALO CAMP OF INSTRUCTION CAMPAIGN OF 

1814 OPENED. 

THE patriot reader, stirred with indignation at the 
deplorable loss of national character, life, and property 
sustained by Hull s surrender ; the surprise of Chand 
ler at Stony Creek; the capture of Boerstler at the 
Beaver Dams ; the abandonment of Fort George, by 
McClure ; the vacillation and helplessness of at least 
three generals and many colonels in the disaster "of 
Chrystler s will ask, at every turn : "What ! Shall 
not fatuity, incapacity, ignorance, imbecility call it 
as you may in a commander of whatever rank be 
equally punished with cowardice, or giving aid and 
comfort to the enemy? Shall a dull man, who ascer- 



Painful Reflections. Ill 

tains that he can get a little money in the army not 
having the ability to earn his bread at home and, ac 
cordingly, obtains a commission? Shall a coxcomb, 
who merely wants a splendid uniform to gratify his 
peacock vanity be allowed unnecessarily to lose his 
men by hundreds, or by thousands, to surrender them 
in mass, or to cause them to be beaten by inferior 
numbers ; shall such imbeciles escape ignominious 
punishment ? In every such case, Humanity as loud 
ly as Justice calls for death. 

In the Analectic Magazine (Philadelphia) for 
December, 1814, there is a "Biographical Sketch of 
Major-General Scott," signed V. understood to be 
the distinoruished scholar and statesman the Honor- 

Q 

able Gulian C. Verplanck containing reflections of 
great beauty, force, and value on the same campaign. 
The writer says : 

" From whatever cause it proceeded, individual 
bravery and enterprise had been uniformly rendered 
abortive by a long series of delays and blunders. The 
patriot, who, regardless of party considerations, looked 
solely to the national honor and welfare, still continued 
to turn away his eyes from the northern frontier 



112 Reflections Continued. 

6 heartsick of his country s shame. Even the most 
zealous partisans of the measures of the administration 
did not dare to do justice to the numerous examples of 
prowess and conduct which had been displayed in our 
armies in the course of the campaign of 1813. It was 
scarcely suspected by the public, that this period of 
disaster had served as a touchstone on which the true 
temper of our army had been thoroughly tried, so that 
it had now become easy to select the pure metal from 
the dross ; that in this hard school of adversity many 
brave and high-spirited young men had been formed 
into accomplished officers, and, on the other hand, 
many an empty fop, young and old, who had been 
seduced into the service by the glitter of epaulets and 
lace, and military buttons, had been severely taught 
his incompetency. The rude northern gales of the 
frontier had swept away the painted insects which rise 
and spread their wings in the summer sun, but served 
only to rouse and invigorate those eagle spirits who, 
during the calm, cower undisturbed in solitude and 
silence, but as the tempest rises burst forth from their 
obscurity, and stem the storm, and sport themselves in 
the gale." 



Equipoise of Imbecility on Lake Ontario. 113 

Early in* 1813, the great contest on Lake Ontario 
commenced between the ship carpenters at Kingston, 
under Sir James Yeo, and the ship carpenters, under 
Commodore Chauncey, at Sacketts Harbor. He that 
launched the last ship sailed in triumph up and down 
the lake, while his opponent lay snug, but not inactive, 
in harbor. This was (say) Chauncey s week of glory. 
Sir James s was sure to follow, and Chauncey, in turn, 
had to chafe in harbor, while preparing another launch 
for recovering the mastery of the lake. This contest 
might have been continued, without the possibility of 
a battle for an indefinite time. It did not end with 
1814; for the treaty of peace (February, 1815) found 
on the stocks, at Sacketts Harbor, two mammoth ships 
the Chippewa and New Orleans pierced for more 
than a hundred guns each, only waiting for a thaw ; 
and Sir James Yeo was always ready to match launch 
with launch. 

Thus the two naval heroes of defeat held each other 
a little more than at arms-length neither being will 
ing to risk a battle without a decided superiority in 
guns and men ; and if Wilkinson complained of the 
non-capture of the British fleet, Chauncey was ready 
with the retort that Wilkinson ought first to deprive 



114 War Incapacity of Government. 

that fleet of its safe refuge by taking Kingston. In 
fact, in the plan of operations prescribed to Wilkinson 
the capture of Kingston was suggested as an early ob 
ject of attention. Wilkinson, however, as we have 
seen, preferred to take Montreal! Here then was 
found, in this extraordinary campaign, more than one 
case of (seeming) matchless imbecility, well matched. 

This war was not sprung upon the United States 
by surprise. From time to time, and for years, wrong 
upon wrong had plainly admonished that base submis 
sion or resistance d entrance was inevitable, and the 
weaker party had the choice of time. Yet there was 
but slight augmentation of the land and naval forces, 
even under such powerful inducements, and no system 
of finance established. Loans, it is true, were author 
ized ; but no adequate means provided for interest and 
redemption. Hence, from the beginning to the end 
of hostilities, there was a want of money and men. 
Indeed, seven tenths of the moneyed capital of the land 
were in the hands of the war s bitterest opponents. 
With money, men might have been obtained, and with 
men, victories would have inspired confidence, and thus 
the cupidity of capitalists allured. Hence it was that 
our fifty-odd regular regiments were mostly skeletons 



Skeleton Regiments Called to Washington. 115 

(scarcely one ever half full) during the war, and we 
always in our triumphs, attacked or defended with in 
ferior numbers, except in a few instances, when equal 
ity was made up by raw volunteers or militia oftener 
an element of weakness than of strength. This was 
extremely discouraging to commanders, like Scott, 
whose rank, zeal, and efficiency threw them into the 
front of every movement. 

It has been seen that Colonel Scott, about the end 
of the year 1813, was called to "Washington by desire 
of the President. He had had only three interviews 
with him and Mr. Secretary Armstrong, when a depu 
tation from Western IsTew York, headed by the Hon. 
John Nicholas, of Geneva (ex-M. C. from Virginia) 
arrived, to demand that Scott might be sent to make 
head against the enemy on the Niagara frontier, which 
had just been devastated by Major-General Riall, in re 
taliation (as alleged) for McClure s burning the village 
of Newark. Riall having, by a rapid movement, dis 
mayed and scattered the militia from Lake Ontario to 
Lake Erie almost without firing a gun, it was not 
known how far he might extend his triumphant march 
into the interior. For a time the alarm extended as 
far east as Geneva and Canandaigua. Scott was hasti- 



116 Sent to the Niagara. 

Ij despatched accordingly; but instructed to stop a 
moment at Albany, in order to make requisitions upon 
the Governor for fresh levies of militia; to prepare 
field trains, with ammunition, etc., etc., for his new 
mission, and in order that the appointment of briga 
dier-general might overtake him, as, without promo 
tion, he could not command any militia general officer. 
But it was soon known at Washington that the enemy 
had quietly recrossed the Niagara, and as the War 
Department wished about this time to make a number 
of new generals at once, Scott s promotion was made to 
wait for the selection of the other names. In the mean 
time he continued to assist in the Albany arsenal in 
the preparation of the materiel of war for the im 
pending campaign, under the valuable instructions of 
Colonel Bomford, who was well skilled in such opera 
tions. 

At this dark period of the war, Albany, rather than 
Washington, was the watchtower of the nation, and 
here Scott, during this hindrance on the route to 
Canada, was, by the desire of the President, and their 
cordial reception, in frequent consultation on high 
political and military matters with those distinguish 
ed statesmen and patriots Governor Tompkins and 



Political Councils A Brigadier. 117 

Judges Spencer and Thompson ever afterward his 
special friends. Two other eminent citizens Messieurs 
Jenkins and Bloodgood were often present, and in 
deed it was at the board of some one of the five all 
hospitable that these confidential interviews were 
usually held. In the JSTorth Judge Spencer was, truly, 
very like Judge Spencer Roane in the South the 
master spirit of the war ; a man that never doubted, 
when duty called, or shirked an opinion. "With him, 
it was but a word and a blow. " Down with that man ! 
a poltroon, a traitor." " Up with this man ! the coun 
try needs his services." And the result was, very gen 
erally, in accordance with the dictum. 

It may be mentioned, in this connection, that the 
late ex-President Yan Buren then just emerging into 
distinction, a State senator and adjunct counsel in the 
prosecution of Hull before a general court martial 
now began to make time, from the labors of the Senate 
and the bar, to mix a little in the reunions alluded to. 
He ably supported the war, and had the confidence of 
all its friends. 

Finally, about the middle of March, 1814, Scott 
received, at the age of twenty-seven and nine months, 
the long-coveted rank of brigadier-general. His prep- 



118 Off for the Niagara Camp of Instruction. 

arations had been made in advance, and the next morn 
ing he was in the saddle for where 

" Niagara stuns with thundering sound." 

Major-General Brown, appointed to command the 
entire frontier of New York, had marched some days 
earlier from the French Mills for the same destination, 
with the 9th, llth, 21st, 22d, 23d, and 25th regiments 
of infantry (not one of them half full); several field 
batteries and a troop of light dragoons. Scott joined 
him some miles east of Buffalo, March 24, 1814. Brig 
adier-General Ripley, Scott s junior, was with those 
troops. 

The major-general, though full of zeal and vigor, 
was not a technical soldier : that is, knew but little of 
organization, tactics, police, etc., etc. He, therefore, 
charged Scott with the establishment of a camp of in 
struction at Buffalo, and the preparation of the army 
for the field by the reopening of the season. In the 
mean time and while waiting for the recruits (which 
never came) to fill up the regiments Major-General 
Brown returned to the right wing of his department 
then called District, No. 9 headquarters, Sackett s 
Harbor. 



Camp of lust/ruction at Buffalo. 119 

The spring, in the region of Buffalo, is, till late in 
May, inclement, and March quite wintry. JSTo time, 
however, was lost ; the camp was formed on very eligi 
ble ground ; the infantry thrown into first and second 
brigades the latter under Ripley, and the service of 
outposts, night patrols, guards, and sentinels organized ; 
a system of sanitary police, including kitchens, etc., 
laid down; rules of civility, etiquette, courtesy the 
indispensable outworks of subordination prescribed 
and enforced, and the tactical instruction of each arm 
commenced. Nothing but night or a heavy fall of 
snow or rain was allowed to interrupt these exercises 
on the ground to the extent, in tolerable weather, of 
ten hours a day, for three months. As relaxation, both 
officers and men were thus brought to sigh for orders 
to beat up the enemy s quarters ; but the commander 
knew that such work could not be effectually done 
without the most laborious preparation. His own 
labors were heavy and incessant. Take for illustra 
tion infantry tactics / the basis of instruction for cav 
alry and artillery as well. As Government had pro 
vided no text book Brigadier-General Scott adopted, 
for the army of the Magara, the French system, of 
which he had a copy in the original, and there was in 



120 Labors of Instruction. 

camp another, in English a bad translation. He be 
gan by forming the officers of all grades, indiscrimi 
nately into squads, and personally instructed them in 
the schools of the soldier and company. They then 
were allowed to instruct squads and companies of their 
own men a whole field of them under the eye of the 
general at once, who, in passing, took successively 
many companies in hand, each for a time. So, too, on 
the formation of battalions ; he instructed each an hour 
or two a day for many days, and afterward carefully 
superintended their instruction by the respective field 
officers. There was not an old officer in the two 
brigades of infantry. Still, if the new appointments 
had been furnished with a text book, the saving of time 
and labor would have been immense. 

The brigadier-general s labors were about the same 
in respect to lessons on subjects alluded to above, other 
than tactics (measures of safety to a camp, near the 
enemy; police, etiquette, etc.). No book of general 
regulations or Military Institutes, had been provided. 
This great want he had to supply orally and by writ 
ten orders. (It will be seen that text books on all the 
foregoing subjects were subsequently prepared and 
published by the autobiographer.) 



Arrival of General Brown. 121 

The evolutions of the line, or the harmonious move 
ments of many battalions in one or more lines, with a 
reserve on the same principle that many companies 
are manoeuvred together in the same battalion, and 
with the same ease and exactness were next daily ex 
hibited for the first time by an American army, and to 
the great delight of the troops themselves, who now 
began to perceive why they had been made to fag so 
long at the drill of the soldier, the company, and the 
battalion. Confidence, the dawn of victory, inspired 
the whole line. 

Toward the end of June, 1814, Major - General 
Brown returned from the right to the left wing of his 
district, to open the campaign on the Niagara, though 
it had become rather the expectation, if not the desire 
of the War Department, that that service should be left 
to Scott, the immediate commander. The regiments 
from the failure to obtain recruits, were still but skele 
tons. Their high instruction on all points of duty 
won for them, however, the major-general s admiration. 

With a view to the prestige of the day, Scott rather 
wished to make the descent on our national anniver 
sary ; but Brown s impatience being equal to his vigor, 
we anticipated a day, although the means of passing 



122 Descent Under Fire. 

i 

the foot of Lake Erie to attack the fort of that name 
opposite to Buffalo, were not all quite in position. For 
the preparation of those means, the army was indebted 
to the extraordinary zeal and abilities of its quarter 
master, Captain John G. Camp, who, with other high 
claims to promotion, continued the chief in that branch 
of the staff throughout the campaign, without other re 
ward than compliments.* 

Scott, with his brigade led, followed by Major Hind- 
man s artillery, Brigadier-General Ripley s brigade of 
regulars, and Brigadier-General P. B. Porter s brigade 
of militia ; Ripley was ordered to land above the fort. 
Scott, in the first boat, with some one hundred and 
fifty men and accompanied by his staff Captain Camp, 
the quartermaster (a volunteer for the nonce), and Lieu 
tenants Gerard D. Smith, W. J. "Worth, and George 
Watts steered for the shore, a little below the point of 
attack. The place of landing proved to be a cove, 
swept by a whirlpool. The night (about 2 o clock A. M.) 
was rather dark; but the enemy, perceiving the ap 
proach, planted a detachment to oppose the landing. 
Near the shore, when the enemy s fire began to be a 

* He was disbanded in 1815 ; made and lost fortunes in Buffalo and 
Sundusky; was several years Marshal in Florid-, and died in 1860. 



Fort Erie Invested Capt^ired. 123 

little galling upon the crowd in the boats, Scott had a 
most critical adventure. Sounding with his sword, he 
found the water less than knee deep, when personally 
Leaping out, instead of giving the command follow 
me ! had scarcely time to exclaim too deep ! to save 
hundreds from drowning; for, at the instant, before 
leaping, his boat had taken a wide sheer, and he had 
to swim for his life, equally in jeopardy from fire and 
water encumbered with sword, epaulets, cloak, and 
high boots. It was a minute or two, still under fire, 
before the boat could be brought back to pick him up. 
Again the first in the water, and promptly followed by 
detachments of his brigade, the shore was cleared at 
once, and the fort invested below just as the other 
troops were landing. 

The fort, like its garrison, being weak, and no 
known succor at hand, a formidable resistance could 
not be offered. Some heavy pieces of artillery were 
placed in battery and a few shots exchanged, when the 
major-general asked Scott to name an officer to bear, 
under a flag of truce, his demand for a surrender. 
Major Jesup, of Scott s brigade, was selected for this 
honorable service, and articles of capitulation were 
soon agreed upon. 



OHAPTEK X. 

RTHSTNESTG FIGHT CHIPPEWA. 

THE night had been rainy ; but a bright sun cheered 
the invaders on the morning of the glorious Fourth of 
July. To seek the enemy below, Scott was early de 
tached with his brigade the 25th Infantry, command 
ed by Major T. S. Jesup ; the 9th by Major H. Leaven- 
worth, and the llth by Major J. McMel, together with 
Captain S. D. Harris s troop of light dragoons, and 
the light batteries under Major Hindman, of Captains 
E. Towson and Thomas Biddle of Scott s late regiment 
of artillery. 

Early in the march, a little above Blackrock, a con 
siderable body of the enemy was discovered. It proved 
to be a corps of observation under the command of the 



Fourth of July Running Fight. 125 

Marquess of Tweedale. All hearts leaped with joy at 
the chance of doing something worthy of the anni 
versary, and to cheer our desponding countrymen at 
home something that might ever, on that returning 
day 

" Be in their flowing cups, freshly remembered." 

The events of the day, however, proved most tanta 
lizing. An eager pursuit of sixteen miles ensued. The 
heat and dust were scarcely bearable ; but not a man 
flagged. All felt that immortal fame lay within reach. 
The enemy, however, had the start in the race by many 
minutes ; but his escape was only insured by a number 
of sluggish creeks in the way, each with an ordinary 
bridge, and too much mud and water to be forded near 
its mouth. The floors of those bridges were, in succes 
sion, thrown off by the marquess, but he was never 
allowed time to destroy the sleepers. Taking up po 
sitions, however, to retard the relaying the planks, 
obliged Scott to deploy a part of his column and to 
open batteries. The first bridge, forced in that way, 
the chase was renewed, and so w T as the contest at two 
other bridges, precisely in the manner of the first and 
with the same results. Finally, toward sunset, the 
enemy were driven across the Chippewa River behind 



126 The Enemy Escapes a Battle. 

a strong tete de pont, wliere they met their main army 
under Major-General Riall. 

This running fight, of some twelve hours, was re 
markable in one circumstance: in the campaigns of 
the autobiographer, it was the first and only time that 
he ever found himself at the head of a force superior to 
that of the enemy in his front : their relative numbers 
being, on this occasion, about as four to three. 

The Marquess of Tweedale, a gallant soldier, on a 
visit to the United States soon after peace, made sev 
eral complimentary allusions to the prowess of our 
troops in the war, and particularly to the events of the 
4th of July, 1814, on the Niagara among them, that 
he could not account for the impetuosity of the Ameri 
cans, in that pursuit, till a late hour, when some one 
called out it is their National Anniversary ! * 

The proximity of Riall reversed the strength of the 
antagonists, and Scott, unpursued, fell back a little more 

* Scott passing through London, in 1815, to Paris, met the Marquess 
of Tweedale in the street, when the parties kindly recognized each other. 
The latter was on the point of setting out for Scotland, and the former for 
France. Scott was assured of a welcome at Tester House, the seat of the 
marquess, if he should visit Scotland. This meeting soon became strange 
ly misrepresented, on both sides of the Atlantic, to the great annoyance 
of the parties. 



Skirmishing Fourth of July Dinner. 127 

than a mile, to take up a strong camp behind Street s 
Creek, to await the arrival of the reserve under Major- 
General Brown. The junction took place early in the 
morning of the 5th. 

Brown lost no time in giving orders to prepare the 
materials for throwing a bridge across the Chippewa, 
some little distance above the village and the enemy 
at its mouth. (There was no travelling ponton with 
the army.) That work was put under the charge of 
our able engineers, McEee and Wood the wise coun 
sellors of the general-in-chief. This was the labor of 
the day. In the mean time the British militia and In 
dians filled the wood to our left and annoyed the pick 
ets posted in its edge. Porter s militia were ordered 
to dislodge the enemy, and much skirmishing ensued 
between the parties. 

The anniversary dinner cooked for Scott s brigade, 
with many extras added by him in honor of the day, 
happily came over from Schlosser on the 5th, and was 
soon despatched by officers and men, who had scarcely 
broken fast in thirty-odd hours. 

To keep his men in breath, he had ordered a parade 
for grand evolutions in the cool of the afternoon. For 
this purpose there was belo\\ the creek, a plain extend- 



128 Battle of Chippewa. 

ing back from the Niagara of some hundreds of yards 
in the broader part, and a third narrower lower down. 
From the dinner, without expecting a battle, though 
fully prepared for one, Scott marched for this field. 
The view below from his camp was obstructed by the 
brushwood that fringed the creek ; but when arrived 
near the bridge at its mouth, he met Major-General 
Brown, coming in at full gallop, who, in passing, said 
with emphasis : You will have a battle ! and, without 
halting, pushed on to the rear to put Ripley s brigade 
in motion supposing that Scott was perfectly aware 
of the near approach of the entire British army and 
going out expressly to meet it. The head of his 
(Scott s) column had scarcely entered the bridge before 
it was met by a fire, at an easy distance, from nine 
field guns. Towson s battery quickly responded with 
some effect. The column of our infantry, greatly elon 
gated by the diminution of front, to enable it to pass 
the narrow bridge, steadily advanced, though with 
some loss, and battalion after battalion when over, 
formed line to the left and front, under the continued 
fire of the enemy s battery. When Scott was seen ap 
proaching the bridge, General Riall, who had dispersed 
+ wice his numbers the winter before, in his expedition 



Battle Continued A New Anniversary. 129 

on the American side, said : It is nothing out a body of 
Buffalo militia ! But when the bridge was passed in 
fine style, under his heavy fire of artillery, he added 
with an oath: Why, these are regulars! The gray 
coats at first deceived him, which Scott was obliged to 
accept, there being no blue cloth in the country. (In 
compliment to the battle of Chippewa, our military 
cadets have worn gray coats ever since.) Two hostile 
lines were now in view of each other, but a little be 
yond the effective range of musketry. 

It has been seen that the model American brigade, 
notwithstanding the excessive vigor and prowess exert 
ed the day before, had failed in the ardent desire to 
engraft its name, by a decisive victory, on the great 
national anniversary. The same corps again confront 
ing the enemy, but in an open field, Scott, riding rapid 
ly along the line, threw out a few short sentences 
among them, alluding to the day before, was this : 
Let us make a new anniversary for ourselves! Not 
finding his name in the official paper (Gazette) after 
his handsome services at the capture of Bastia and 
Calvi, early in his career, Nelson with the spirit of 
divination upon him, said : " Never mind ; I will have 
a Gazette of my own." A little arrogance, near the 
6* 



130 Battle Nice Manoeuvring. 

enemy, wlien an officer is ready to suit the action to 
the word, may be pardoned by his countrymen. And 
it has often happened, if not always, when Fourths of 
July have fallen on Sundays, that Chippewa has been 
remembered at the celebrations of Independence on 
the 5th of July. 

The brigade had scarcely been fully deployed,* 
when it was perceived that it was outflanked by the 
enemy on the plain, besides the invisible force that had 
just driven Porter and the militia out of the wood. 
Critical manoeuvring became necessary on the part of 
Scott ; for the position and intentions of Brown, with 
Kipley and Porter, were, and remained entirely un 
known to him till the battle was over. The enemy 
continuing to advance, presented a new right flank 
on the widened plain, leaving his right wing in the 
wood which Scott had caused to be confronted by 
Jesup s battalion, the 25th Infantry, which leaped the 
fence, checked, and soon pushed the enemy toward the 
rear. At the same time having ordered that the right 
wing of the consolidated battalion (9th and 22d Infan 
try) commanded by Leavenworth, should be thrown 
forward, with Towson s battery on the extreme right, 
close to the Niagara, Scott flew to McNiePs battalion, 



Decisive Charge. 131 

the llth Infantry, now on the left, and assisted in 
throwing forward its left wing. The battalions of 
Leaveiiworth and McNiel thus formed, pointed to an 
obtuse angle in the centre of the plain, with a wide in 
terval between them, that made up for deficiency of 
numbers. To fire, each party had halted more than 
once, at which the Americans had the more deadly 
aim. At an approximation to within sixty or seventy 
paces, the final charge (mutual) was commenced. The 
enemy soon came within the obliqued battalions of 
Leavenworth and MoNiel. Towson s fire was effec 
tive from the beginning. At the last moment, blinded 
by thick smoke, he was about to lose his most effective 
discharge, when Scott, on a tall charger, perceiving 
that the enemy had come within the last range of the 
battery, caused a change that enfiladed many files of 
the opposing flank. The clash of bayonets, at each ex 
tremity, instantly followed, when the wings of the 
enemy being outflanked, and to some extent doubled 
upon, were mouldered away like a rope of sand. It is 
not in human nature that a conflict like this should 
last many seconds. The enemy s whole force broke 
in quick succession and fled, leaving the field thickly 
strewn with his dead and wounded. The victory was 



132 Pursuit Victory Complete. 

equally complete in front of Jesup. A hot pursuit was 
continued to within half gunshot of the batteries at 
Chippewa Bridge, to gather up prisoners and with 
good success. Returning, Scott met Major-General 
Brown coming out of the forest, who, with Eipley s 
regulars and the rallied militia of Porter, had made a 
wide circuit to the left, intending to get between the 
enemy and the Chippewa, and this might have been 
effected if the battle had lasted a half hour longer ; but 
suppose that Scott in the mean time had been over 
whelmed by superior numbers ! 

The term charge occurs several times above, and 
often in military narratives. A word to explain its 
professional meaning may be acceptable. General 
Moreau, when in America, remarked that in all his 
campaigns he had " never known anything approach 
ing to a general conflict of bayonets ; " though perhaps 
in all battles between infantry, a few files at a time, 
or small parts of opposing lines (as at Chippewa) come 
into the deadly rencounter. 

" A charge, in military phrase, is said to be made, 
when either party stops firing, throws bayonets for 
ward, and advances to the shock, whether the enemy 
receive it or fly. An actual crossing of bayonets, 



Gloom Dissipated. 133 

therefore, is not indispensable to the idea of a charge. 
To suppose it is, is a mistake. Another popular error 
is, that the parties come up to the shock in parallel 
lines. Such a case has rarely, if ever, occurred. Each 
commander always seeks by manoeuvring to gain the 
oblique position, and, if possible, to outflank his enemy. 
"With superior forces both advantages may easily be 
gained ; but with inferior numbers the difficulty is ex 
treme. The excess on the part of the enemy can only 
be overcome by celerity of movement, accuracy, hardi 
hood, skill, and zeal." * 

Few men now alive are old enough to recall the 
deep gloom, approaching to despair, which about this 
time oppressed the whole American people especial 
ly the supporters of the war. The disasters on the 
land have been enumerated, and now the New Eng 
land States were preparing to hold a convention it 
met at Hartford perhaps to secede from the Union 
possibly to take up arms against it. Scott s brigade, 
nearly all ISTew England men, were most indignant, 
and this was the subject of the second of the three 
pithy remarks made to them by Scott just before the 

* This paragraph is taken from Mansfield s life of the autobiographer, 
but was originally furnished (substantially) in the notes of the latter. 



134 Rejoicings at Home. 

final conflict at Chippewa. Calling aloud to the gal- 
lant Major Hindman, he said : " Let us put down the 
federal convention by beating the enemy in front. 
There s nothing in the Constitution against that." * 

History has recorded many victories on a much 
larger scale than that of Chippewa; but only a few 
that have wrought a greater change in the feelings of 
a nation. Everywhere bonfires blazed ; bells rung out 
peals of joys ; the big guns responded, and the pulse of 
Americans recovered a healthy beat. 

* The third, addressed to the llth Infantry, at the last moment, was 
this : The enemy say that Americans are good at long shot ; but cannot 
stand the cold iron. I call upon you instantly to give the lie to the slander. 
Charge I 



CHAPTER XI. 



INVESTMENT OF FORTS BATTLE OF NIAGARA OR 

LTJNDY S LANE. 



THE enemy being again in the strong position be 
hind the Chippewa, the preparation of materials foi 
the bridge was renewed early on the 6th, but before 
they were quite ready, Major-General Riall decamped ; 
sent reinforcements to his works at the mouth of the 
Niagara, struck off to the left at Queenstown and re 
turned with the remainder of his army to Burlington 
Heights at the head of Lake Ontario. So it turned 
out, as we learned, in a day or two. Scott s brigade 
was again despatched in pursuit. He crossed the Chip 
pewa Bridge early on the 7th and reported from Queens- 
town the ascertained movements of Riall. 

Major -General Brown determined to attack the 



136 Forts Invested Stratagem. 

forts (George and Messassauga) at the mouth of the 
river, and accordingly marched his whole force upon 
them Scott always in the lead. Perhaps it had been 
better, after masking those works, to have moved at 
once upon Riall. But arrangements had been made 
between the general-in-chief and Commodore Chauncey 
for siege guns to be brought up by our ships of war ; 
for the Niagara army had not a piece heavier than an 
18-pounder. The forts were invested : Messassauga, 
built since McClure evacuated George, the year before. 

The investment was maintained till the 23d of 
July, when Chauncey reported that he could not com 
ply with his promise. The reason being that it was 
Sir James Yeo s turn to hold the mastery of the lake. 

Major-General Brown, thinking it would be more 
difficult to find than to beat Riall in the Highlands 
about the head of the lake, now resolved to try the 
effect of a stratagem to draw him out of his snug posi 
tion. Accordingly, the Americans on the morning of 
the 24th assumed a panic ; broke up camp and retreat 
ed rapidly up the river. There was only a moment s 
halt at Queenstown to throw the sick across into hos 
pital at Lewiston, until all were securely encamped 
above the Chippewa. The following was to be a day 



False Jtep&rt. 137 

of rest and to give Eiall time to come down in pursuit. 
It was further arranged that Scott s brigade, reenforced, 
should early in the morning of the 26th return rapidly 
upon Queenstown, and if the stratagem proved a fail 
ure, then to trace up Biall and attack him wherever 
found. Consequently, it was intended that the 25th 
of July should be to the army a day of relaxation 
without other duties than cleaning of arms, the wash 
ing of clothes, and bathing, except that Scott s troops 
were ordered to fill their haversacks with cooked pro 
visions. 

While all were thus unbuttoned and relaxed, a 
militia colonel, whose regiment occupied several posts 
on the American side of the river, sent a specific report 
to Major-General Brown that the enemy had thrown 
across, from Queenstown, to Lewiston, a strong body 
of troops, and as it could not be to disturb the small 
hospital at the latter place, Brown concluded the move 
ment had in view the destruction of our magazines at 
Schlosser, and stopping the stream of supplies descend 
ing from Buffalo. Of course, Riall must have come 
down from the Highlands ; but as one of our brigades 
had beaten his entire force, twenty days before, it was 
difficult to believe he had risked a division of his weak- 



138 Meeting of Superior Numbers. 

ened army so near to the superior numbers of Brown ; 
for not a rumor had readied the latter that Riall had 
been reenforced. Indeed it was only known, from 
Chauncey, at Sackett s Harbor, that Sir James Yeo 
had possession of the lake ; for Brown s means of secret 
intelligence, if any, were of no avail. In this state of 
ignorance, but confidence in the report received, Brown 
ordered Scott, with his command, to march below, to 
find the enemy and to beat him. It was now in the 
afternoon, and all had dined. In less than thirty 
minutes, the splendid column horse, artillery, and in 
fantry had passed the bridge at the village of Chippe- 
wa, and was in full march for Queenstown (nine miles 
below), intending no halt short of that point. But 
Vhomme propose et Dieu dispose. Turning the sweep 
the river makes a mile or two above the Falls, a horse 
man in scarlet was from time to time discovered peep 
ing out from the wood on the left, and lower down, the 
advance guard, with which Scott rode, came upon a 
house (Forsyth s) from which two British officers fled 
just in time to escape capture. Only two inhabitants 
had been seen in the march, and these, from ignorance 
or loyalty, said nothing that did not mislead. The 
population was hostile to Americans. 



Battle of Niagara or Lundrfs Lane. 139 

From such indications it seemed evident that there 
was a corps of observation in the neighborhood, and 
Scott so reported to headquarters; but from the in 
formation on which he had advanced, it could only be 
a small body, detached from an inferior army that had 
committed the folly of sending at least half of its num 
bers to the opposite side of the river. There was, there 
fore, 110 halt and no slackening in the march of the 
Americans. Passing a thick skirt of wood that crossed 
the road nearly opposite to the Falls, the head of the 
column emerged into an opening on the left in full- 
view, and in easy range of a line of battle drawn up in 
Lundy s Lane, more extensive than that defeated at 
Chippewa. 

Riall s whole force was in the lane ; for, it turned 
out not only not a man had been thrown over the river, 
but that the night before Lieutenant-General Sir Gor 
don Drummond had arrived by the lake with a heavy 
reinforcement, and had pushed forward his battalions 
(sixteen miles) as they successively landed. One was 
already in line of battle, and the others were coming 
up by forced marches. 

The aches in broken bones feelingly remind the 
autobiographer of the scene he is describing, and after 



140 Battle Continued. 

the lapse of nearly fifty years lie cannot suppress his 
indignation at the blundering, stupid report made by 
the militia colonel to his confiding friend Major-Gen 
eral Brown. 

Jesup s battalion (the 25th), marching in the rear, 
was detached to the right, covered by brushwood, be 
tween the road and the river, to turn the enemy s left. 
Hindman, with Towson s and Thomas Biddle s bat 
teries, the 9th and 22d consolidated under Colonel 
Brady, and the llth (McNiel s) were, as they preceded 
Jesup, deployed to the left in the open space, when a 
tremendous fire of all arms responded to that of the 
enemy. At the discovery of the formidable line, Scott 
despatched another staff officer to the general-in-chief, 
who was still in his camp (nearly three miles off) with 
a promise to maintain his ground till the arrival of the 
reserve. Nothing was more difficult. 

At the moment of this promise whether it might 
not be his duty to fall back ? was rapidly considered. 
But for some particular circumstances that alternative 
should have been adopted ; but the brigade was, from 
the first, under a heavy fire, and could not be with 
drawn without a hot pursuit. Being but half seasoned 
to war, some danger of confusion in its ranks, with the 



Battle Continued. 141 

certainty of throwing the whole reserve (coming up) 
into a panic, were to be apprehended ; for an extrava 
gant opinion generally prevailed throughout the army 
in respect to the prowess nay, invincibility of Scott s 
brigade. 

By standing fast, the salutary impression was made 
upon the enemy that the whole American reserve was 
at hand and would soon assault his flanks. Emboldened, 
however, a little by its non-arrival, an attempt was made 
to turn Scott s left. The llth, that occupied that posi 
tion, threw forward (under cover of a clump of trees) 
its right, and drove the enemy beyond reach. 

Jesup, too, on our right, had brilliant success. In 
making the sweep around the enemy s left flank, he 
captured Major-General Riall and cut off a segment of 
his line. Sir Gordon Drummond, also, was for a mo 
ment a prisoner, but he contrived to escape in the dusk 
of the evening. Hindman s artillery, Brady s battalion, 
consolidated with Leavenworth s, had suffered and in 
flicted great losses under a direct fire, un remitted, till 
dusk. The llth, partially covered, suffered less. 

At this moment Major-General Brown and staff 
came up a little ahead of the reserve of course, each 
with the bandage of night on his eyes for it was now 



142 Battle Continued in the Night. 

dark after nine o clock in the evening. Scott gave 
the general the incidents of the battle, and the posi 
tions of the hostile forces on the field. It was known 
from prisoners that further reinforcements, from be 
low, were soon expected. Not a moment was to be 
lost. By desire, Scott suggested that the heaviest bat 
talion in the reserve, the 21st, which he had instructed 
at Buffalo, and was now commanded by Colonel Miller, 
should, supported by the remainder of Ripley s brigade, 
charge up the lane, take the enemy in flank, and roll 
his whole crumbled line back into the wood. 

To favor this important movement, Scott, with the 
added force of Jesup, now back in line, ordered the 
attack, in front, to be redoubled ; guided Brown, with 
Miller, through the darkness, to the foot of the lane, 
and then rejoined his own forces. Here he was assist 
ed by the fresh batteries which came up with the re 
serve. The enemy, thus furiously assailed in front, re 
mained ignorant of Miller s approach till the bayonets 
of his column began to be felt. The rout was early 
and complete, a battery captured, and many prisoners 
made. 

Positions on the field had become reversed. The 
American line, reformed, now crossed that originally 



Incidents of the Battle. 143 

occupied by the enemy at right angles, and facing the 
wood, with backs to the river. Here it took a defen 
sive stand. The British slowly rallied at some distance 
in front. Being again in collected force and in return 
ing confidence, they cautiously advanced to recover the 
lost field and their battery the horses of which had 
been killed or crippled before the retreat. By degrees 
the low commands, halt, dress, forward ! often repeat 
ed, became more and more audible in the awful still 
ness of the moment. At length a dark line could be 
seen, at a distance, perhaps, of sixty paces. Scott re 
solved to try an experiment. Leaving his brigade on 
the right, in line, he formed a small column of some 
two hundred and fifty men, and, at its head, advanced 
rapidly to pierce the advancing enemy s line, then to 
turn to the right, and envelop his extreme left. If 
pierced, in the dark, there seemed no doubt the whole 
would fall back, and so it turned out. Scott explained 
his intentions and forcibly cautioned his own brigade, 
and Ripley s on his left, not to fire upon the little col 
umn ; but the instant the latter came in conflict with, 
and broke the enemy, Ripley s men opened fire upon 
its rear and left flank, and caused it to break without 



144 Incidents Continued. 

securing a prisoner. The column resumed its place in 
line, and another pause in the battle ensued. 

After a while, a second advance of the enemy was 
made with the same slowness as before. When within 
short musket-shot, there was an unexpected halt, in 
stantly followed by the crack of small arms and the 
deafening roar of cannon. Each party seemed resolved 
to rest the hope of victory on its fire. The welkin was 
in a blaze with shells and rockets. Though both armies 
suffered greatly, the enemy suffered most. The scene, 
perhaps, including accessories, has never been sur 
passed. Governor Tompkins, with a keen perception 
of its splendor, said, in presenting a sword of honor to 
Scott : " The memorable conflict on the plains of Chip- 
pewa, and the appalling night-battle on the Heights of 
Niagara, are events which have added new celebrity 
to the spots where they happened, heightening the 
majesty of the stupendous cataract, by combining with 
its natural, all the force of the moral sublime." 

It was impossible that this conflict should be en 
dured for more than a very few minutes. The lines at 
some points were separated by only eight or ten paces. 
Nothing but a deep, narrow gully intervened in front 
of the 25th Infantry. Scott, inquiring of the com- 



Heroism in the Ranks Scott HOTS de Combat. 145 

mander (Jesup) about a wound (in the hand) heard a 
call in the ranks Cartridges! At the same moment 
a man reeling to the ground, responded Cartridges in 
my "box! The two commanders flew to his succor. 
The noble fellow had become a corpse as he fell. In 
the next second or two Scott, for a time, as insensible, 
lay stretched at his side, being prostrated by an ounce 
musket ball through the left shoulder joint. He had 
been twice dismounted and badly contused, in the side, 
by the rebound of a cannon ball, some hours before. 
Two of his men discovering that there was yet life, 
moved him a little way to the rear, that he might not 
be killed on the ground, and placed his head behind a 
tree his feet from the enemy. This had scarcely been 
done, when he revived and found that the enemy had 
again abandoned the field. Unable to hold up his 
head from the loss of blood and anguish, he was taken 
in an ambulance to the camp across the Chippewa, 
when the wound was stanched and dressed. 

On leaving the field he did not know that Major- 
General Brown, also wounded, had preceded him. By 
seniority the command of the army now devolved on 
Brigadier-General Kipley. It must then have been 
about midnight. Ripley, from some unknown cause, 



146 The Defeated Enemy Claim the Victory. 

became alarmed, and determined, in spite of dissuasion, 
to abandon the field, trophies, and all. The principal 
officers despatched a messenger to bring back Scott, 
but found him utterly prostrate. Toward day, some 
fragments of the enemy, seeking the main body, crossed 
the quiet field, and learning from the wounded that the 
Americans had flown, hastened to overtake Lieutenant- 
General Sir Gordon Drummond below, who returned, 
"bivouacked on the field, and claimed the victory ! 



CHAPTER XII. 

ffORS DE COMBAT PRINCETON COLLEGE PHILADELPHIA 

BALTIMORE WASHINGTON. 

THE following morning (July 26) Scott for the 
next forty-one years a major-general embarked for 
Buffalo, with some thirteen officers of his brigade, all 
badly wounded. Among these were two of his three 
staff officers Brigade-Major Smith, and Aide-de-Camp 
"Worth; Colonel Brady, one of the best soldiers and 
men of his day, etc., etc. The rowboat was large and 
unwieldy, and the soldiers (militiamen) selected as 
oarsmen, feeble and inexperienced; for Scott would 
not allow any man, effective in the ranks, to volunteer 
for the service. Two of the consequences were that on 
leaving the mouth of the Chippewa the boat narrowly 



148 Sojourn at Batavia. 

escaped passing over the Falls, and next, the row up 
the river was most tedious and distressing. The rest 
at Buffalo was short, and also at "Williamsville, eleven 
miles east. Here Scott was joined by Major-General 
Riall, badly wounded when captured, and his friend 
(worse wounded) Lieutenant-Colonel John Moryllion 
Wilson,* one of the Chippewa prisoners. 

These officers Scott placed on formal parole and ob 
tained for them, from Government, as a special favor 
to himself, permission to return to England, after all 
like indulgences had ceased on the part of each belli 
gerent. 

His forced sojourn was longer at Batavia, in the 

* This gallant officer, always (since) an invalid and friend of Scott, who 
was, in the time of William IV, in the household of the queen, and since 
in the government of Chelsea Hospital, still lives. He invested his little 
savings and wife s dower in Mississippi bonds, repudiated, mainly, by Mr. 
Jefferson Davis. It was Scott s strong statement of this interesting case, 
at the time, in a published article, that brought upon him afterward the 
persecutions of Mr. Davis as Mr. Pierce s Secretary of War. When it ig 
added, upon knowledge, that the statements of Sir Phineas Biall and Sir 
John Moryllion Wilson, on their return home, contributed not a little to 
the liberal instructions given to the British Commissioners who signed the 
Treaty of Ghent, perhaps it may not be extravagant or too late to say, 
that generous Americans should make up, to Wilson s family, their losses 
by the Mississippi repudiation. Our distinguished countryman, George 
Peabody, London, is their friend. 



4 Ovation Convalescent. 149 

comfortable house of his friend, Mr. Brisbane, where 
he was well nursed by the kindness of his excellent 
sister, afterward Mrs. Carey. But Batavia, exhausted 
of its comforts, became, in August, very sickly, and 
Scott s wounds were no better. For the same reason 
that he took the poor oarsmen, at Chippewa, he had 
selected an invalid surgeon for himself and wounded 
companions, who had not strength for hospital duty, 
and hardly enough to half dress the wounds of three 
officers twice a day. Without change, it became evi 
dent that the senior could not live. He procured a 
litter, and hired eight men (two reliefs) to bear him on 
it; but some of the principal citizens drove off the 
hirelings, and shouldered the litter themselves. It was 
thus, more than half dead, he was taken in triumph, 
by the gentlemen of the country, who relieved each 
other at the edge of every town, some seventy miles, to 
the house at Geneva, of another dear friend, the Hon 
orable John Mcholas. 

Here, besides the fine air, were " all appliances and 
means to boot," needed by Scott, except the higher 
skill in surgery. To obtain this he was most anxious 
to reach Doctor Physick, at Philadelphia. 

Having by the kind nursing of Judge Xicholas s 



150 Grand Scene at Princeton. 

family gained some strength, the new major-general 
was enabled to travel in an easy carriage, on a mat 
tress, to Albany, where honors, as elsewhere, on the 
road, awaited him, and thence he had the benefit of 
steam to New York. Here another long journey, on a 
mattress, was to be undertaken. At Princeton College 
(Nassau Hall) a very interesting scene occurred. The 
invalid chanced to arrive at that seat of learning on 
Commencement day in the midst of its exercises, and 
made a short halt for rest. He was scarcely placed on 
a bed when a deputation from the Trustees and Faculty 
did him the honor to bear him, almost by main strength, 
to the platform of their body. This was in the vener 
able church where thousands of literary and scientific 
degrees had been conferred on pupils from all parts of 
the Union. The floor and galleries were filled to 
overflowing with much of the intelligence, beauty, and 
fashion of a wide circle of the country. 

All united in clamorous greetings to the young 
wounded soldier (bachelor), the only representative 
that they had seen of a successful, noble army. 

The emotion was overpowering. Seated on the 
platform, with the authorities, he had scarcely recov 
ered from that burst of enthusiasm, when he was again 



Philadelphia Dr. Physick. 151 

assailed with all the powers of oratory. The valedic 
tory had been assigned to the gifted and accomplished 
Bloomfield Mcllvaine, of the graduating class, the 
younger brother of the present most venerable bishop 
of Ohio. He had, without reference to any particular 
individual taken as his theme, the duty of a patriot 
citizen in time of war j in which soldiership was made 
most prominent. In a whisper, he obtained at the 
moment, permission of the Faculty to give to the whole 
address, by a few slight changes, a personal application. 
Here again there was a storm of applause, no doubt in 
the greater part given to the orator.* Finally the 
honorary degree of Master of Arts, conferred on the 
soldier, rounded off his triumphs of the day. 

Flattered and feeble, the soldier at length reached 
Philadelphia. Dr. Physick, eminent as a physician, 
more eminent as a surgeon, and not less distinguished 
as a patriot, left a sickroom, for the first time in 
months, with his most accomplished and amiable 
nephew, Dr. Dorsey, to visit and heal his new patient. 
Before this great effort of science had been accom 
plished, Scott, in the command of the Philadelphia 

* Though Mr. Mcllvaine died very young, it was not before he had 
greatly distinguished himself at the Philadelphia Bar. 



152 Baltimore Dr. Gibson Gold Medal. 

Department (district) was, early in October, ere he 
could walk or mount a horse without help, ordered 
to the district of Baltimore, then threatened with 
another joint attack by the army and fleet which had 
been so handsomely repulsed the month before. Here, 
Dr. Gibson, another eminent surgeon, at the end of 
some months, finally finished the case so happily com 
menced, without fee or reward, in Philadelphia. 

Scott found a large force of militia assembled for 
the defence of Baltimore, which he was glad to dis 
charge as the winter approached and the danger sub- 
Bided. He visited, in the course of the winter, "Wash 
ington and Fredericksburg, threatened by the enemy, 
and, as at all the points further north, was handsomely 
greeted and distinguished. But the crowning honor 
was conferred upon him in a resolution penned by the 
accomplished and rising statesman, William Lowndes 
in which it is ordered that a gold medal " be struck, 
with suitable emblems and devices, and presented to 
Major-General Scott in testimony of the high sense 
entertained by Congress of his distinguished services 
in the successive conflicts of Chippewa and Niagara 
(or Lundy s Lane), and of his uniform gallantry and 
good conduct in sustaining the reputation of the arms 



Honored by Congress Board of Tactics. 153 

of the United States" It is believed that the second 
clause of this resolution contains a compliment not be 
stowed by Congress on any other officer whatever. 

Early in December, and before he had visited 
Washington, inquiries were made of him and his 
physician, whether he could bear the journey to New 
Orleans, in order to assist Major-General Jackson in 
the defence of the Mississippi delta. Dr. Gibson re 
plied that the principal wound of his patient was 
still open, requiring the most critical treatment, and 
moreover that he had not yet the strength to sustain a 
long journey. Thus the soldier of the Niagara lost the 
opportunity of sharing in Jackson s brilliant victories 
near New Orleans. He might in the beginning of the 
campaign, when he preferred the Northern frontier, 
have gone South if he had so chosen. But, as is said 
in Rasselas, " No man can, at the same time fill his 
cup from the source and from the mouth of the Nile." 

Hi a headquarters remained in Baltimore. When 
his health had improved a little, he was called twice 
to Washington for consultation on plans of campaign 
for 1815, and under a resolution of Mr. Lowndes 
who, though he " never set a squadron in the field," 
and experimentally knew nothing of " the division of 



154 Treaty of Peace. 

a battle," was, as his correspondence with Scott showed, 
well acquainted with the subject the latter was made 
president of a board of tactics, with, as associates, Brig 
adier-General Swift, Colonels Fenwick, Drayton, and 
Gumming. 

About the same time he was appointed president of 
a court of inquiry in the case of Brigadier-General 
"Winder. Both bodies sometimes met, at different 
hours, the same day. The treaty of peace arrived 
before the tactics were quite finished. The war was 
at an end. Scott s breast was violently agitated by 
opposite currents of feeling joy for the country, whose 
finances were exhausted ; disappointment at being cut 
off from another campaign in the rank of lieutenant- 
general; for it was in contemplation to confer that 
grade on Brown, Jackson, and himself. 



CHAPTEK XIII. 

REDUCTION OF THE ARMY VISIT TO EUROPE ENGLAND 

FRANCE. 

THE army had now to be reduced to a peace estab 
lishment from, nominally, some sixty-five thousand, 
to ten thousand men ; that is, we had officers for the 
larger number, but the regiments, as in the campaigns, 
were still skeletons. The reduction could not fail to 
fall heavily on the commissioned officers, as less than 
one in six could be retained in service. 

The board, ordered for this painful duty met in 
May, 1815, and consisted of the six general officers 
previously selected by the President for the new estab 
lishment, viz. : Major-Generals Brown and Jackson, 
with four brigadiers, each a major-general by brevet 



156 Reduction of the Army. 

Scott, Gaines, Macomb, and Kipley. Jackson and 
Gaines did not appear at all, and Brown arrived after 
the board had made good progress in its labors. In 
the mean time Scott had presided. 

Mr. Monroe, since the previous autumn, had been 
alternately Secretary of State and acting Secretary of 
War, or the reverse. Wise, firm, patriotic, and inde 
fatigable in the performance of every duty, his strength 
at length gave way. The Secretary of the Treasury, 
the Honorable Alexander J. Dallas, without neglecting 
one of its duties became acting Secretary of War, and 
it was under his judicious instructions that the board 
reduced the army. He it was, also, who put the new 
establishment in operation as smoothly as if he had 
been all his life a soldier. The autobiographer has 
known men as able as Mr. Dallas, but never one who 
combined so much talent for the despatch of business, 
with the graces of a gentleman and scholar. 

At the ratification of the treaty of peace there was 
a strong inclination on the part of some members of 
Congress to make Scott Secretary of War, which he 
discouraged, emphatically, and next to engage him to 
act in that capacity, until the arrival of the new Secre 
tary, Mr. Crawford, from his mission to France. This 



Sails for Europe. 157 

proposition he also declined from a feeling of delicacy 
toward his seniors, Major-Generals Brown and Jack 
son, who would, nominally, have been under the com 
mand of the acting secretary. 

At length, charged with limited diplomatic func 
tions, for the execution of which on his return home, 
he was handsomely complimented by the Executive, 
Scott sailed for Europe, July 9, 1815, before the news 
of the battle of Waterloo had reached America. That 
great event burst upon him on the arrival (in eighteen 
days) at Liverpool, together with the astounding fact 
that Napoleon was a prisoner of war in an English 
port. After a partial glance at England, Scott hasten 
ed to cross the channel to see the assembled troops of 
Europe, for la lelle France did not then belong to 
Frenchmen. A great nation, exhausted by the vic 
tories of mad ambition, had, in its turn, become con 
quered and subdued. 

It was authentically ascertained that the foreign 
armies in France amounted to five hundred thousand 
men, besides another hundred thousand hovering about 
the frontiers. Nearly all these troops Scott saw re 
viewed at different points. 

Dipping a little into society French, Dutch, Ger- 



158 Galleries and Halls of the Louvre. 

man, and Italian, as well as English and Scotch when 
returning homeward ; visiting theatres and libraries ; 
glancing at the wonders of architecture, sculpture, and 
painting ; seeing a little of the interior of Oxford and 
Cambridge, and paying devotion to many scenes of 
historic fame not one of which objects need be here 
described, first, because that has been done by scores 
of better pens ; and next, because this is not a book of 
travels Scott recrossed the Atlantic in 1816, a little 
improved both in knowledge and patriotism. 

There were, however, a few incidents in his rapid 
tour, a slight notice of which (the greater number 
being more or less connected with America) may be 
interesting to his countrymen. 

It was the fortune of the American to be almost 
daily in the galleries and halls of the Louvre, for 
weeks, immediately preceding the restoration of the 
foreign objects of the fine arts trophies of French 
victories where the frequent spectacle of emperors, 
kings, princes, dukes, marshals, and the rest of the 
elite of Europe, male and female, were seen passing 
ajlong, as if in review, admiring the chefs-d ceuvre to 
the right and left. First came Alexander, as affable 
and courteous as a candidate for office, and his brother 



Mite of Europe Female Artists. 159 

emperor, Francis, grave to sadness. He had received 
heavy afflictions from the arms of France ; had shifted 
sides at a critical moment, making his daughter a 
political widow, and his grandson, Napoleon II., an 
alien to France. These were ample grounds for shame 
and sorrow. The King of Prussia, too, had his griefs ; 
was glum, incapable of any lively emotion, and goaded 
by his people to acts of revenge. Old Blucher, always 
by his side, had made secret preparations for blowing 
up the bridge of Jena, a beautiful object of art and of 
the greatest value to Parisians. Baron Humboldt, long 
a resident of Paris, and master of the civilization of 
the age ; high in the pride of all Prussians, and the 
associate of crowned heads, hastened to the king and 
implored that the hand of the barbarian might be 
stayed adding, if not, he would, in shame, renounce 
his country for ever. The bridge was saved by a few 
minutes. 

During the weeks in question, no person, born in 
France, was seen in the Louvre, save a few female 
artists mounted on high steps, busily engaged in copy 
ing some of the master paintings before their early de 
parture. These patriotes did not condescend to glance 
at the moving world below all enemies of France. 



160 Corinthian Horses. 

Even the passing compliments of Alexander met with 
no response from one of them in word or look. 

The dismounting of the Corinthian horses from the 
triumphal arch, in the Place du Carrousel, to be sent 
back to Yenice, was also witnessed. On this occasion, 
the autobiographer said to his friend standing by him, 
the Honorable Thomas Boiling Robertson a descend 
ant of Pocohontas, a member of Congress from Louisi 
ana, and otherwise distinguished " Yery well ; these 
wonders in bronze, have already made journeys and 
changed masters several times, and as 

* Westward the course of empire takes its way, 

they, may, in time, adorn the capital of our country." 
That prediction has already been sadly defeated by the 
existing rebellion in the United States ! 

Scott corresponded with, though he failed to see, 
the venerable Kosciuszko; spent some days at La 
Grange, on a visit to General La Fayette, dear to all 
Americans. He made the acquaintance of several of 
Rochainbeau s officers who were at the surrender of 
Cornwallis among them the venerable and distin 
guished Count de Segur, the elder, author of the me 
moirs of the greatest interest, in three volumes, the 



Humboldt Barbe Marbois. 161 

second of which is devoted to America. The Baron 
Humboldt, who had visited the United States, and who 
took a lively interest in the cause of freedom, did the 
autobiographer the honor to make him several visits 
of usefulness to spread his acquaintance among liter 
ary and military men himself a man of the world, 
and a most instructive companion. Master of many 
languages, he, in rapid conversation, unconsciously, 
mixed up several of them in the most amusing man 
ner. 

Another highly interesting acquaintance, made in 
Paris, was Barbe Marbois, who accompanied, as con 
sul-general, the first French minister to the United 
States. Being a moderate liberal, he was now (1815) 
minister of justice. His very amiable daughter, the 
wife of the Due de Plaisance (Lebrun, third consul in 
1799), who presided at his hospitable board, was half 
American her deceased mother having been a Phila- 
delphian. M. Marbois gave to Major-General Scott 
many anecdotes of the Congressional Government of 
the United States, some of which may appear in this 
narrative the greater number having been published 
by Sevelinge from the portfolio of M. Girard, the min 
ister. M. Marbois had some time before published his 



162 Burning of Washington English Celebration. 

Conspiration (^Arnold, a copy of which he presented 
to the American. 

An event of poignant interest to Americans oc 
curred in September. The British troops were all 
quartered in and about Paris. Some of the regiments 
that assisted, under that freebooter,* Admiral Cock- 
burn, and the gentlemanly, but pliant General Ross, 
in burning the civil edifices at Washington the Capi- 

* This is a harsh term to apply to an officer of high rank ; but Cock- 
bum made war a trade of profit as well as of vengeance, in the true bar 
barian spirit of Lord Bathurst s letter to Prevost, given above. The late 
J. S. Skinner, Esq., of Baltimore, chanced to be at Ross s headquarters, 
under a flag of truce, when a sailor reported that he had discovered some 
hogsheads of tobacco in the barn of a farmer. The indignant general re 
plied : " Begone ! I m no freebooter like Cockburn ! ! " This admiral 
had been living ashore at free quarters for some time, in General Greene s 
last residence, Dungenness, Cumberland Island, Georgia, when the pub 
lished treaty of peace was received, early in March, 1815. Cockburn 
prepared to return to his flagship. Mrs. Shaw, the widowed daughter of 
the great general, said to Cockburn : " Your servants are packing up all 
my plate silver urns, pitchers, cups, spoons, forks, etc., etc." " The 
servants," he replied, " have mistaken their orders. My steward shall 
correct the error." In a short time she flew to him again, to say: 
" There goes, in the boxes leaving the door, every piece of my plate 
presentations to my father, and all ! " " Madam, on board, your property 
shall be carefully separated from mine and sent back." Nevertheless, the 
whole was carried off, together with some of her colored servants, who, no 
doubt, were sold in some of the British West India Islands ! This story 
the autobiographer had from Mrs. Shaw herself, at Dungenness, in 1826. 



Celebration of English Vandalism. 163 

tol, the President s mansion, and other executive build 
ings hit upon the pleasant conceit being in the occu 
pancy of the capital of Europe, to celebrate, in it, the 
anniversary of their vandalism in the capital of Amer 
ica. Accordingly, full of their " laudable ignominy," 
the officers of those regiments founded a grand enter 
tainment, to which were invited "many principal officers 
of the same army, including the Duke of Wellington, 
together with a thick sprinkling of French hungry cour 
tiers, recently back from a long emigration, and all, of 
course, idolizers of British troops. 

It is not now distinctly recollected whether the 
great duke was present or not. The documents are 
not at hand. He certainly did not interdict the cele 
bration, nor warn his officers not to make a vaunt of 
their shame in respect to the burnings. 

The founders and their guests, had it all in their 
own way. Forgetting that Washington had no defend 
ers when Cockburn and Ross approached, except mobs 
of militia, hastily collected, but half of whom had had 
time to obtain arms, or to learn the names of their 
officers ; forgetting, too, how British troops had been, 
the year before, repeatedly beaten and dispersed in 
Canada, and (still later) repulsed and disgraced .at 



164: Retaliation. 

"New Orleans poor Americans ! how shockingly were 
they maltreated by those Washington heroes, and their 
friends ! Such victories, however, aside from " the 
iron harvest of the field," are, but a cheap indulgence. 

Fired with indignation, the Americans at hand re 
solved on a retaliation. It was the general wish to 
select the anniversary of some conflict in which Scott 
had been a principal. To this he objected, begging a 
postponement to the New Orleans victory the 8th of 
January. As the time approached, grand preparations 
were made. The Hotel Eobert, Eue Grange Battel- 
liere, where the sovereigns habitually hobnobbed before 
they dispersed homeward, was selected as the place of 
meeting. A sumptuous dinner for seventy Americans 
besides their guests, to be served on silver and by wait 
ers in livery, was ordered. The ostentation was in 
tended to give increased publicity to the occasion, and 
for the same purpose, the Americans everywhere, 
dropped the expectation many, the hope, of being 
jostled ; for that Hotel continued to be the resort of 
the higher English, and "the bucks and bloods" of 
the English army. 

The morning of the dinner, Count "Woronzow 
lieutenant-general and aide-de-camp to the Emperor 



American, Dinner, January 8. 165 

Alexander ; also then commander of the forty thousand 
Russians, part of the foreign army of occupation (one 
hundred and fifty thousand) under the Duke of Wel 
lington chanced to make one of his agreeable calls 
upon Scott. Through an accidental opening of the 
bedroom door, he caught a view of the American s 
uniform, and being young, playful, and tall, he seized 
upon the coat, put it on, and with the companion-sword 
in hand, charged about the apartment, and slew British 
troops in much finer style than the weapon had ever 
known before. The acting was perfect. 

The ventilation of the uniform led to the story of 
the provocative and retaliatory dinners, and to the re 
mark that a possible conflict might ensue; for Lord 
Hill s quarters, with a battalion of troops, were nearly 
opposite to the Hotel Robert. The Russian impulsive 
ly offered to send a battalion of the emperor s guards 
to protect the meeting. On a little reflection Scott 
declined the distinguished honor, as it would almost 
certainly have caused a coolness, if not something more 
grave, between the count and his commander, the Duke 
of Wellington.* 

* It was at the same visit that his Russian friend gave to Scott this 
anecdote : "After exiling Napoleon to Elba, in 1814, the allied sovereigns 



166 Alexander s Contempt , etc. 

The Americans, in a respectable column entered 
the hotel, and mounted the grand staircase. Scott, 
Colonels Drayton, McRae, Thayer, Archer, etc., etc., 
in uniform, with swords by their sides, and some others 
with pistols in pocket. The crowd was as great as 
usual in the evening ; but not a jostle, interruption, or 
insult was experienced. Scott presided, assisted by the 
principal officers named, and Mr. Jackson, late United 
States Charge d Affaires, but not accredited to Louis 
XYIII at this time. A band of music gave the na 
tional airs of America and France. The cloth being 
removed, the toasts followed in quick succession: 
Our Country; the President of the United States; 
Memory of Washington ; La Fayette (then sick in bed), 
and nine others. The Fifth was : MAJOR-GENERAL 
JACKSON and Ms heroic army, who, this day a year ago, 

went over to England to make the regent (subsequently George IY.), a 
visit. The latter had prepared a naval combat, on the Serpentine River, 
between a British and an American frigate (diminutives) for his imperial 
and royal guests Brother Jonathan, in a " fir frigate, with a bit of bunt 
ing for a flag," stood the distant fire pretty well ; but when John Bull laid 
his ship alongside, poor Jonathan struck his bunting and ran below ! The 
regent, etc., were charmed with the victory, when the Emperor Alexander 
whispered into the ear of his aid, Woronzow : This is contemptible 
when an American sloop-of-war, on the coast of Ireland, and an American 
privateer in the channel, are sinking or destroying scores of British vessels. " 



American Toasts Censorship. 167 

near New Orleans, defeated thrice their numbers of the 


best British troops, commanded by Sir Edward Pdken- 

ham, the "brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington ! 

This toast, introduced with some sharp remarks, by 
Scott, on the provocation that had led to the dinner, 
was drunk with the utmost enthusiasm, and the com 
pany dispersed at a reasonable hour, in perfect order 
and quietness. 

A report, in French, of the meeting and toasts, 
specially stating the provocation, was drawn Ap and 
sent by a committee to the Constitutional (a liberal 
paper) for insertion. M. Le Censeur of the press, a 
crabbed old. emigre, running his spectacled eyes down 
the page came upon the great disparity of the "belliger 
ent forces, at JSTew Orleans, and the statement that the 
defeated commander was the brother-in-law of the Duke 
of Wellington, when he gutted the toast of the " peril 
ous stuff" that could not fail to give offence to the 
English. The toast in compliment to La Fayette was 
by this official, entirely expunged frankly saying the 
French Press was not open to the praise of that patriot 
hero. In revenge, Scott, at the cost of a few guineas, 
caused the unexpurgated report to be published in a 
London paper. 



OHAPTEE XIY. 

ENGLAND LONDON BATH. 

SCON after the dinner, Scott recrossed the channel. 
The second Adams was then the honored American 
minister in London, who showed every attention to his 
soldier countrymen, and of whom more will be said in 
the sequel. 

Under the self-imposed restrictions, given above, 
the autobiographer has but few more European occur 
rences to add to this narrative. 

The English Parliament was in session. Among 
other distinguished persons, Scott dined several times 
with Lord Holland high in literature, high as a 
political leader, and, like his illustrious uncle, Charles 



A Grand Dinner. 169 

James Fox, a decided friend to " the cause of freedom 
throughout the world." 

Persons of like sentiments and liberal pursuits, of 
whatever country, were easily admitted into his family 
circle ; for Lady Holland, an American, had also high 
gifts and accomplishments. At one of those dinners, 
present several of the higher nobles, and the more dis 
tinguished commoners Sir James Mackintosh and 
Sir Samuel Romilly (both of whom were very kind to 
Scott on many occasions), an incident occurred, too 
characteristic of English feeling toward America, at 
the time, to be omitted. 

This particular dinner was given in special com 
pliment to the Earl of Lauderdale, who had a near 
relative at table, unknown to Scott, the captain that 
received Napoleon on board the Bellerophon. The 
naval officer, loud and rude as Boreas at sea; but 
coming up to London, as a "blood," fell under the 
fashionable code of Bond Street, and had to lisp and 
mince words, to stammer between syllables, and even 
letters in the same word, like the rest of the coxcombs 
of the day. When the ladies had retired, this fop in 
quired of Scott, whether " the Americans continued to 

build line-of-battle ships, and to call them frigates ? " 
8 



1YO Nttval Anecdote Bath. 

Anywhere else the offensive question would have been 
very differently answered. The American bit his lips 
and replied : " "We have borrowed a great many ex 
cellent things from the mother country, and some that 
discredit both parties among the latter is the practice 
in question. Thus when you took, from France, the 
Guerriere, she mounted forty-nine guns, and you in 
stantly rated her on your list a thirty-six gun frigate ; 
but when we captured her from you, we found on 
board the same number, forty-nine guns ! " " General 
Scott," said the Earl of Lauderdale, " I am delighted 
with your reply to my kinsman. Please take a glass 
of wine with me." 

A short visit to Bath was not without interest. 
Among his letters of introduction, Scott had one to 
John Parish, Esq., of that city, whose son David, a 
resident of Philadelphia, had been the agent of certain 
Dutch and Hanseatic bankers, in loans to the United 
States, to an amount of half the expenditure of the 
recent war with Great Britain. The father, an octoge 
narian, had, in fifty years, as a merchant at Hamburg, 
made an ample fortune, and now lived in a superior 
style among the throng of dowager ladies, half-pay 
generals, and admirals who constituted the resident 



Meeting with a Tory American Lady. 171 

population of that remarkable city. He had contrived 
to send to America, during the Revolutionary War, 
many cargoes of arms, ammunition, and clothing, and 
subsequently became consul of the United States. His 
obsolete commission as such, in frame, signed by 
President Washington, hung conspicuously in one of 
his apartments. General Bonaparte, about to sign the 
preliminary treaty of Campo Formio, chanced to re 
member La Fayette, then three years in an Austrian 
dungeon (Olmutz), and withheld the pen until a formal 
order was given, by the Emperor Francis, for the lib 
eration of the Franco- American patriot. He was per 
sonally delivered to Mr. Parish, American Consul. 

Another introductory letter from a belle of Phila 
delphia, to her great aunt, Lady J., wife of Sir Henry 
Johnson, Baronet, residing at Bath, and a senior gen 
eral of the British army, led to an interview which, at 
this distant day, cannot be recalled without emotion. 
This lady, in 1779, and some years before, was, as Miss 
Franks, the belle of Philadelphia handsome, witty, 
and an heiress. She was also high in toryism and 
eccentricity. Many amusing sarcasms of hers, levelled 
at revolutionary men of eminence, were in circulation 
in Philadelphia down to the autobiographer s early 



172 The Lady and General Charles Lee. 

days. One of them, of a practical nature, was too 
offensive to be amusing. Mrs. General Washington 
gave a ball to the French minister, M. Girard, in honor 
of the recent alliance between Louis XVI. and the 
United States, which had led the Americans to unite 
the cockades of the two countries white and black. 
Miss Franks caused this token of alliance to be tied to 
the neck of a dog, and by a bribe to a servant, got the 
animal, thus decorated, turned into the ball room. 

The equally eccentric, Major-General Charles Lee, 
wore, in the saddle, long pantaloons lined from the 
crotch to the ankle with buckskin to prevent abrasion 
after that example, much worn in America by mili 
tary men down to within forty-five years. Miss Franks 
charged that they were " green breeches, patched with 
leather." In his celebrated reply * to her, filled with 
coarse wit and humor, he denies the patching, and adds 
that his pantaloons are " legitimate sherry vallies, such 
as his majesty of Poland wears " on whose personal 
staff he had recently served. 

This brilliant young lady married, about this time, 
Major Johnson, a British officer, made prisoner at the 

* See his Life and Memoirs, New York, 1813, and Memoirs of the Life, 
etc., London, 1792. Both anonymous. 



Sequel of the Meeting. 173 

capture of Stony Point (of which he was the command 
er) and sent to Philadelphia. In 1816 she had become, 
from bad health, prematurely old a very near ap 
proach to a ghost, but with eyes still bright, and other 
remains of her former self. 

On the receipt of the letter of introduction, Lady 
J. despatched her amiable husband a fine old soldier, 
to fetch the stranger. Scott, as has been seen, was 
fortunately a little acquainted with her eccentric man 
ner. She had been rolled out in an easy chair to receive 
him. On presentation, he was transfixed by her eager, 
but kindly gaze. " Is this the young rebel 1 " were her 
first words. " My dear, it is your countryman ! " etc., 
said Sir Henry, fearing that Scott might take offence. 
" Yes, it is," she quickly added, " the young rebel ; 
and you have taken the liberty to beat his majesty s 
troops." Scott, by a pleasant word or two, parried the 
impeachment as well as he could ; but the lady followed 
up the accusation, with specific references, which sur 
prised not a little. Scott soon found himself seated by 
her side, with a hand clasped in both of hers cold and 
clammy, as in the article of death. Taking a sudden 
turn, she exclaimed, with emphasis : " I have*gloried 
in my rebel countrymen ! " Then pointing to heaven, 



174: Sequel, etc. 

with both hands, she added, in a most affecting tone : 
" Would to God I, too, had been a patriot." A gentle 
remonstrance was interposed by the husband, who had 
been carried away by sympathy up to this moment. 
Turning now upon him, she said, with the earnestness 
of -truth : " I do not, I have never regretted my mar 
riage. No woman was ever blessed with a kinder, a 
better husband; but I ought to have been a patriot 
before marriage." Hers were the only dry eyes of the 
party. 



CHAPTEE XV. 

REFLECTIONS ON PEACE AND WAR THE CANKER ABOLI 
TIONISM STATE RIGHTS NULLIFICATION REBELLION. 

As has been said, the autobiographer returned home 
in 1816, when he resumed his duties in the army. 
Thence to the Mexican War, in 1846, there is a gap 
of thirty years to be bridged over in this narrative. 
In this long interval he was not idle, and a few of its 
scenes and events with which he was connected will be 
sketched in this narrative. 

Always preferring peace to unnecessary, and of 
course to unjust wars, he never made his own the dis 
tracted cry of poor Constance, in King John : 
" War ! war ! no peace ! peace is to me a war ! " 



176 Peace and War. 

Yet, perhaps, the thesis might plausibly be main 
tained that war is the normal or natural state of man. 
Homo komini lupus.* 

Amid the woods the tiger knows his kind, 
The panther preys not on the panther brood, 

Man only is the common foe to man.f 



Milton sings : 

Peace hath her victories 

No less renown d than war. 

This fine couplet, addressed to the great warrior 
and statesman the Lord General, Cromwell often 
quoted by civilians as a taunt to soldiers, will not, in 
that sense, bear a philosophic analysis ; for what has 
been accomplished in peace, that might not have been 
as well done in a state of war ? Sunday schools, Bible 
societies, missions to the heathen, vaccination, the steam 
engine, the electric telegraph, etc., are the great human 
triumphs of recent times. Several of these blessings 
had, as is known, their beginning and maturity in time 
of war ; and what a flood of Christian light followed, 
and is likely to follow, the recent march of European 
armies into the interior of China? And Shakspeare, 

* Erasmus. f Motto to Caleb Williams. 



Origin of Political Abolitionism. 177 

the deepest of human observers, recognizes " the can 
kers of a calm world and long peace." Perhaps, an 
occasional interlude of foreign war may be even neces 
sary to the moral health of a people rapidly increasing 
in population, wealth, and luxurious indulgences. 

In this interval of peace, certain speculative, moody 
minds at the " North, Northeast, and by East," * like 
Loyola, brooding over their want of occupation or use 
fulness and being as tired of prosperity as Athenian 
demagogues were with the name of Aristides the just / 
these dreamers, struck out the idea of abolishing, at 
" one fell swoop," negro slavery in the other half of the 
Union. By a singular aptitude this idea coalesced at 
once with religious fanaticism, when a " charm of pow 
erful trouble " became " firm and good." The ambitious 
leaders of a political party eagerly made court to this 
great and growing element of strength ; succeeded in 
the wooing, and were placed at its head. 

Now it is the nature of a new hallucination to shut 
out from the mind facts and principles everything 
that conflicts with the one ruling idea. Hence the work 
of agitation now went bravely on. The fact was 
entirely ignored that slavery, in several States, was 

* Shakspeare. 
8* 



178 Recklessness of Abolitionism. 

happily undergoing a gradual but sure amelioration, 
and could not fail to be more and more spontaneously 
accelerated, without the danger of reaction, if it were 
left to God s own time to educe good from evil, 
in his own way. So were forgotten that His great 
work even the creation of the world was one of 
time and deliberation, instead of a simple fiat, which, 
if He had pleased, would have been all sufficient ; 
that more years were allowed to intervene between 
the promise made to Abraham and the advent of our 
Saviour, than Africans had been in America the 
chosen people of God being, meanwhile, slaves in 
Egypt and Babylon ; that the monarch oak and lofty 
pine fit " to be the mast of some great ammiral " 
require centuries to mature them ; forgetting, too, that, 
as has just been shown, hundreds of years, more or less, 
are in divine estimation, but as a moment in the life 
of a people or race of men ; forgetting all those high 
considerations, the reckless reformers rus, ed in " where 
angels " might " fear to tread," at the imminent peril 
of setting owners and slaves to the mutual slaughter 
of men, women, and children of the opposite color. 
That this would have happened, since the rebellion, no 
white woman, in putting her children to bed would 



Folly of the South. 179 

have doubted, but for the wide spread of troops, Union 
and Confederate, pver the South ; and, indeed, a like 
danger and a like nervous apprehension existed not 
without cause, in Southern families created by exter 
nal, pragmatic missions and missiles beginning some 
twenty-odd years before. 

The first great error of the South, after the agita 
tion began, was, in causing abolition petitions to be 
laid upon the table in Congress, instead of referring 
them to committees for due consideration and respect 
ful reports on the same. The alleged ground of this 
treatment was, that the petitioners asked for what Con 
gress had no power, under the Constitution, to grant. 
Agreed; but why not have allowed a committee (or 
committees) to find that fact and solemnly report that 
finding ? Such report say from Mr. Adams, who was 
prepared so to report would have taken from aboli 
tionists more than half of the fuel needed to keep up 
their excitement to fever heat; for the abstract right 
of petition had, by the events immediately preceding 
the revolution, become hallowed, more particularly in 
the public mind of the New England States. Thus 
action and reaction, error and outrage went on, each 
producing its like Caliban, his Caliban as certainly 



180 Desolation of the South Evils ^n the North. 

as if the propagation had been commanded in the 
book of Genesis. And, unhappily, the parties seem 
still (January, 1864), as desperately bent as ever, on 
playing out the game All for HATE, or the World 
well Lost* Hence " all our woe." 

Now it cannot be doubted that if it had pleased 
God, but a few years before, to have taken away only 
some ten or fifteen of those zealots from one half of the 
Union, and as many of the hot-brained Southerners 
mainly intent on president-making and the increase 
of slave property the South would not already be a 
scene of general desolation one " house of mourning ; " 
nor the North filled with widows, orphans, cripples, 
and another evil of large dimensions swarms of rich 
contractors many of them fraudulent whose low 
manners, high pretensions, pomp and extravagance, 
excite the contempt of the philosophic, the pity of the 
good and envy of legions of weak-minded men and 
women. 

But this inductive history of present calamities 
would be incomplete nay, unjust, without a further 
glance at men and measures hostile to the Union of 

* " All for Love, or the World well Lost" the title of Dryden s 
Antony and Cleopatra. 



Johnson s Homage to Martial Prowess. 181 

an earlier period. The stream of bitter waters, here 
alluded to, had its source in the connection of Presi 
dent Washington and his first Secretary of State, Mr. 
Jefferson. 

Dr. Johnson has supposed Socrates and Charles 
XII. of Sweden, to address an assembly of some pride 
of character. The great founder of moral science, with 
persuasive eloquence, commends the beauty of virtue. 
The heroic Swede, in his turn, draws his sword and 
flashing it in the eyes of the multitude, calls out Fol 
low me and let s dethrone the Czar! Johnson doubts 
whether many listeners would remain with Socrates. 

The same moralist puts another case to illustrate 
the same feeling, w,hich he holds to be quite common 
in the breasts of men. Lord Mansfield is brought into 
a circle with a Blake or a Marlborough, and is made 
to feel, in such presence, that his learned decrees on 
the bench, and terse eloquence in the Senate, are of 
but little worth. 

There is, no doubt, much exaggeration, but a basis 
of nature, in those illustrations. Hence, as revolution 
ary worthies assured the autobiographer fifty and 
sixty years ago, Mr. Jefferson, the author of the 
Declaration of Independence highly ambitious; a 



1 82 Jefferson s Opposition to Washington. 

man of genius, of literary culture, and with a fine turn 
for philosophic inquiries always felt himself uneasy 
nay, rebuked in the presence of Washington not so 
much at his calm dignity, wise statesmenship, and 
moral weight of character; as at the recollection of 
his being the great general and hero in the war that 
achieved independence. To recover himself from the 
painful sense of inferiority, Mr. Jefferson was forced to 
set up an opposition, and leave the cabinet, when his 
party pretended to find that man is too much governed ; 
that property, and liberty, with law and order, had 
nothing to fear from popular judges and universal 
suffrage; that Washington had imparted too much 
centripetal force to the Union to meet which they 
opposed the centrifugal tendency, or the doctrine of 
State Rights the first fruits of which have been seen 
in nullification almost identical with rebellion ;* both 
in part, the posthumous works of Mr. Jefferson. 

Mr. Calhoun, of pure morals and high intellect 
only a little too much imbued with metaphysics fol 
lowed in the same career, not from the beginning of 
his political life, but was forced into it by circum 
stances. No one was more eminently conservative* 
* Mr. Calhoun s mind had a strong tendency to extremes. He was, at 



Jackson Drives Calhoun into State Rights. 183 

in politics till after his election to the vice-presidency, 
when President Jackson (toward whom he always 
stood in awe) learned that he had, as Secretary of 
War, in Mr. Monroe s cabinet, suggested the hero s 
recall perhaps, punishment, by a court martial, for 
the conquest of Middle Florida during a state of pro 
found peace with Spain. This late discovery of a meri 
torious act, brought down upon the second functionary 
of the Government the utmost wrath of the first. 

There was no recovery from this blight, but, as it 
seemed, to Mr. Calhoun, in an abrupt change of party. 
Accordingly, to recover himself, he took refuge in State 
Rights ; stereotyped the doctrine on the Southern mind, 
and hence nullification, and next rebellion. 

As to the abstract right of man to hold any human 
being in slavery, except in the way of punishment for 
established crime, the sentiment of the civilized world 



first, in favor of making, by the authority and at the expense of the United 
States, Appian highways from the centre to the frontiers in every direc 
tion ; of a high tariff and a bank of the United States. To illustrate his 
genius and early doctrine, this anecdote may be added : At a dinner of 
six or eight, all officers of the army, but himself, he spoke of the party 
contests at the beginning of this century, and continued : " When the 
Republicans, headed by Mr. Jefferson, stormed and carried the citadel of 
Government, in 1801, they were not such fools as to spike the guns." 



184 Slavery Emancipation. 

is fast waxing to unanimity on the negative side" of the 
proposition. The recent abolition of serfdom in Russia 
was a mighty stride in that direction, and it may at 
this time be safely assumed that all the chairs of moral 
philosophy throughout Christendom, except, perhaps, a 
very small number in slaveholding countries, deny all 
claim of right on the part of masters. But as to the 
manner of mitigating, to extinction, the evil of negro 
slavery, whether by degrees, more or less slow or fast, 
or at once, in districts where it actually exists, in masses 
these are very different questions, involving difficul 
ties within difficulties. 

There is no intention of doing more, in this place, 
than to glance, very slightly, at some of those points, 
not developed in the foregoing pages, nor fully in the 
autobiographer s recorded views (his Atkinson letter) 
on the same subject, published in newspapers in 1843, 
reproduced in Mansfield s able work, and which paper 
may be repeated in these memoirs. From those sources 
it will plainly appear that the autobiographer s wishes 
have been to hasten emancipation only as fast as might 
be found compatible with the safety of both races. 

The color of the American slave is the first difficul 
ty. When a Roman placed the cap of liberty on the 



Evils of Abrupt Abolition. 185 

head of his white slave, the latter, himself, or at least 
his children, readily passed into the general population 
without any brand of former servitude upon him. Not 
so with the negro freedman. His color will always be 
certain evidence that he, or his progenitors, had once 
worn the yoke of the white man. 

Immediate and wholesale abolition of negro slavery 
cannot be dismissed without a few additional remarks. 

In this war, how many hundreds of thousands have 
already been liberated men, women, and children 
and are now fed and clothed by the United States, be 
sides the colored troops who are also receiving pay as 
such ; and how many millions of the same people, the 
Government may, in all, take under its wing by the 
close of the war it would, it is thought, be difficult to 
say within a million. The numbers will be numberless. 
How long will these be paid, lodged, clothed, and fed 
in like manner with those* first named ? And, in the 
end where colonized, and how distant the colony? 
Transportation is a heavy item of cost. Is the territory 
obtained or designated? The climate and soil are 
they good or bad ? How make those work, who have, 
for a time, lived without labor, and who have never 
worked except when compelled by a master? And 



186 Pragmatists Revolt the South. 

last and mightiest how discharge the grand aggregate 
cost of such operations including that of the conquer 
ing armies ? With all the gold mines known to com 
merce in its possession, Government could not, in 
half a century, reduce that mountain of debt, that has 
been piled up in less than three years. 

Once more a parting glance, in the way of con 
trast, at the system of gradual emancipation, with the 
actual system immediate abolitionism. 

In about sixty years, counting from (say) 1833, 
but for the pragmatists alluded to Delaware, Mary 
land, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, 
and Missouri, would have been, in all human prob 
ability, free States, and those farther South, by the 
force of example, must, in the mean time, have en 
tered on the same career of wisdom and humanity. 
Virginia in 1831- 2, it ought to be remembered, came 
within a vote of carrying the system at the first trial, 
and wanted but a little more time to have brought over 
to its support an overwhelming majority ; but just then, 
as has been noticed above, petitions to Congress, and 
missions, and missiles of violence to the negroes, agi 
tated and revolted the whole South. 

By the gradual system, of which honor to him 



Mr. Jefferson Oxenstiem Rufus King. 187 

to whom honor is due Mr. Jefferson was the author 
and uniform supporter each slave on attaining the 
proper age males (say) twenty-one would have be 
come a free man on the spot, where his hired labor 
would have been needed. Thus he would remain with 
the younger members of his family till their liberation 
in turn, or have engaged himself to work on the next 
plantation. In this way each freedman would have 
had, to some extent, the choice of employers, and each 
employer, to a like extent, the choice of laborers each 
with a strong motive to respect the interests and feel 
ings of the other. Thus, moreover, the labor of the 
country would not have been diminished, nor its ^pro 
ductions. 

The wise Oxenstiern said to his son: Nesois mi 
JUi quantuld scientid gubernatur mundus. And the 
good old Grloster, blind, says, in King Lear : 

" Tis the times plague when madmen lead the blind." 

In virtue, wisdom, talent, one of the most eminent 
men of his times Rufus King already prominent at 
the end of the Revolution, when quite young twice 
our Minister Extraordinary to London, and twenty-odd 
years a leader in the Senate of the United States this 



188 Mr. King s Wise Proposition. 

American Oxenstiern, always opposed to the principle 
of slavery, and to its extension into new States and 
Territories had in him nothing of the madness of 
political abolitionism. Honored by his kind attentions 
from early in the war of 1812- 15, to the end of his 
career, I, the autobiographer, am happy to cite his sen 
timents on the great subject under consideration, to 
which my own closely approximated. 

Mr. King, feeling a modest assurance that his name, 
position, and services could not fail to carry with them 
due weight, with Congress, at some future day, laid 
upon the table of the Senate, February 16, 1825 
fifteen days before he finally left that body a benign 
resolution to the effect that as soon as the remnant of 
the national debt should be discharged, the net proceeds 
of the whole of the public lands, "then and thence 
forth, shall constitute and form a fund which is hereby 
appropriated, and the faith of the United States is 
pledged that the said fund shall be inviolably applied 
to aid the emancipation of such sldVes, within any of 
the United States, and to aid the removal of such 
slaves, and the removal of such free persons of color 
in any of the said States as by the laws of the States 
respectively, may be allowed to be emancipated or re- 



His Magnanimity A Kindred Act. 189 

moved to any Territory or country without the limits 
of the United States of America." The resolution 
stands a national record. 

Here is statesmanship far-sightedness, seeking to 
disarm the muttering clouds which threatened to burst 
upon and overwhelm the land. Here is magnanimity, 
considering the hostility of the South on account of 
Mr. King s powerful resistance to the admission of 
Missouri into the Union with slavery. Here is a 
Christian s revenge returning good for evil! All 
honor to a great deed and a great name ! 

Hearing of the noble act, I, a Southern man, wait 
ed upon Mr. King the same evening to return him my 
hearty thanks, and added that the time could not fail 
to come when the whole South would be equally grate 
ful. The rebellion ended, the first tranquil moment 
will be that time. 

I place in juxtaposition with the foregoing, a kin 
dred sentiment that gleamed in the same body on a 
more recent occasion. 

It had been proposed, without due reflection, by one 
of our gallant commanders engaged in the suppression 
of the existing rebellion, to place, on the banners of 
his victorious troops, the names of their battles. The 



190 Mr. Sumner s Noble Proposition. 

proposition was rebuked by the subjoined resolution, 
submitted by the Hon. Mr. Sumner to the Senate, May 
8, 1862 : 

" Resolved, That, in the efforts now making for the 
restoration of the Union, and the establishment of 
peace throughout the country, it is inexpedient that 
the names of the victories obtained over our own fellow 
citizens should be placed on the regimental colors of 
the United States." 

This was noble and from the right quarter. 



CHAPTEE XYI. 

MARRIAGE RECEPTION OF SWORDS AND MEDAL. 

SOON after his return from Europe, the autobiogra- 
pher married Miss Maria Mayo, the daughter of an emi 
nent citizen, John Mayo, Esq., of Richmond, Virginia 
a young lady more admired in her circle than her soldier 
husband, who, however, was highly feasted and honored 
everywhere in Richmond by the whole State that is, 
by the governor, legislators, judges, and many other 
of her first citizens united. She died, June 10, 1862. 
Of this marriage three daughters remain, of seven chil 
dren two sons and two daughters having died quite 
young. 

The medal voted by Congress was presented in a 



192 Presentation and Reply. 

handsome address, by President Monroe, a few days 
before his descent from power. The following short 
extracts from the recipient s reply may show his man 
ner of feeling and expressing himself at that period : 

" "With a deep sense of the additional obligation now 
contracted, I accept, at the hands of the venerable chief 
magistrate of the Union, this classic token of the high 
est reward that a freeman can receive THE RECORDED 

APPROBATION OF HIS COUNTRY. 

" And you, sir, whom I have the honor officially to 
address for the last time ; you who bled in the first, and 
powerfully contributed to the second "War of Indepen 
dence ; you who have toiled fifty years to rear and to 
establish the liberties of this great republic permit an 
humble actor in a much shorter period of its history, to 
mingle his prayers with those of millions, for the happy 
but distant termination of a life, of which, as yet, others 
have enjoyed the distinguished benefits, whilst the cares 
have been all your own." 

This medal chanced to be temporarily in the City 
Bank of New York> for safe-keeping, when two thieves, 
in a night s work, took from that institution $260,000. 
The medal was lying in a trunk of gold. All the coin 
was stolen, but the medal, though taken out of its case 



Respect of Thieves for a Veteran. 193 

(marked with the owner s name) to gratify curiosity, 
was left. A few years later, when the robbers had 
served out their sentences in the State prison, or been 
pardoned by the Executive, Scott was, in a steamer, 
on the Hudson, robbed of his purse by pickpockets who 
did not know him. The principal of the bank robbery 
hearing of the loss ($140) bestirred himself among the 
fraternity ; threatened to cause the whole body to be 
sent to the State prison if the money was not returned, 
and added, " When in the City Bank I saw the medal, 
but was not such a villain as to rob a gallant soldier." 
In a day or two the money was returned by Hays, the 
high constable, with that report, received from a third 
party. To show that he did not himself pocket the 
money, Hays was required to produce Scott s written 
receipt for its return which was given. 

A handsome sword was, about the same time, 
though voted years before, presented to Scott in a 
complimentary address by the Governor (Pleasants, 
bred a Quaker) of Virginia. 

A part of the reply, to illustrate the character of 
the autobiographer, is here inserted : 

" The law which gave my name to a county ; the 

thanks voted by the General Assembly; and this sword 
9 



194: Virginia and New York Swords of Honor. 

which I now have the honor to receive at your hands, 
in the presence of the executive council, are the precious 
evidences of that partiality. Sir they are appreciated 
by me in the spirit in which they are bestowed, as in 
culcating the first lesson of a citizen-soldier, that, as 
liberty is the greatest of blessings, so should he ever 
hold himself armed in her defence, and ready to sacri 
fice his life in her cause ! " 

A similar presentation was earlier made to Scott 
by the amiable and devoted patriot, TompMns, Gover 
nor of New York. His address, very partially quoted 
above, written con amore, is too splendid as a compo 
sition, to say nothing of its flattery, to be much abridged 
in these memoirs : 

" In adverting, sir, to your claims to distinction, it 
would be sufficient to say, that on all occasions you 
have displayed the highest military accomplishments, 
the most ardent attachment to the rights and honor of 
your country, and the most intrepid exertions in their 
support. A rapid and unprecedented succession of 
promotions at an early age, has been the well-earned 
fruit of your talents. The distinguished notice by your 
Government is the best encomium on your character, 



Splendid Address of Governor Tompkins. 195 

and the highest reward to which the virtuous and the 
great aspire. 

" But, sir, your military career is replete with 
splendid events. "Without descending into too much 
minuteness, I may briefly refer to your exploits in the 
most interesting portion of the American continent. 
The shores of Niagara, from Erie to Ontario, are in 
scribed with your name, and with the names of your 
brave companions. The defeat of the enemy at Fort 
George will not be forgotten. The memorable conflict 
on the plains of Ghippewa, and the appalling night- 
battle on the Heights of Niagara, are events which 
have added new celebrity to the spots where they hap 
pened, heightening the majesty of the stupendous cata 
ract, by combining with its natural, all the force of the 
moral sublime. The admirers of the great in nature, 
from all quarters of the globe, will forever visit the 
theatre of your achievements. They will bear to their 
distant homes the idea of this mighty display of nature, 
and will associate with it the deeds of you and your 
brothers in arms. And so long as the beautiful and 
sublime shall be objects of admiration among men; 
so long as the whelming waters of Erie shall be tum 
bled into the awful depths of Niagara, so long shall 



196 Jackson s Violence Aroused. 

the splendid actions in which you have had so con 
spicuous a share, endure in the memory of man." 

This paragraph closed the reply of Scott to the 
Governor of New York : 

" On an occasion like this, declarations would but 
feebly express the volume of obligation contracted. 
Permit me to assure your Excellency, and through 
you, the Legislature and people of the proud State of 
New York, that I am sensibly alive to the duties of a 
republican soldier, armed by the hands of his country 
men to support and defend their national honor and 
independence; and if my personal services had been 
more worthy of the distinction bestowed, I should have 
no wish left me, at this moment, but that the glory, 
and liberties of the republic might be eternal." 

In 1817 quite an angry correspondence took place 
between Major-General Jackson and Scott, then entire 
strangers to each other. In Parton s life of the former, 
and Mansfield s of the latter two works of consider 
able ability the particulars of this quarrel are given. 
A passing notice of it in this compressed autobiography 
must suffice. 

The Secretary of War, acting in the name or by the 
authority of the President, had sent an order, direct, 



History of the Case. 197 

to a topographical officer, in the Southern division 
(half of the United States) under the command of 
Jackson, telling him to go on some duty elsewhere. 
This slight irregularity was caused by the wish to save 
time, for the officer s post office was at a considerable 
distance from Jackson s headquarters. If notice (al 
ways proper in such cases) had been given of the order 
in question, to Jackson, the irregularity would have 
been cured ; but this was not done by the acting secre 
tary, Mr. Graham. The want of courtesy, on the part 
of the Executive, was met by a grave offence a severe 
rebuke of the Executive, in an order addressed to his 
division by the hero of New Orleans, in which all his 
officers were peremptorily instructed not to obey any 
mandate whatsoever, from whomsoever, that did not 
pass through his (Jackson s) hands. This was, no 
doubt, the production of one of his numerous young 
staff officers madcaps to whom was usually aban 
doned, as was well known to the whole service, all 
labors of the pen. The penman, no doubt, proud of 
his commission, very dogmatically, laid down on the 
subject a code of military doctrines, most of them 
juvenile crudities, but well suited to the violence of 
the chief. The order was ostentatiously thrown into 



198 History Continued. 

many newspapers at once, soon to be taken up by all, 
and become a subject of universal conversation. J ust 
then, June, 1817, Scott chanced to meet Governor 
Clinton, present two or three other gentlemen. Being 
interrogated, professionally, by his Excellency, on what 
he termed the " extraordinary order," the soldier en 
tered fully and methodically into the subject, and neces 
sarily pointed out several grave blunders, with many 
regrets, and added the hope and belief that, in consid 
eration of great services, an admonition and not what 
the governor thought a court, would terminate the 
matter. That high functionary, had about him, neces 
sarily, many politicians of inferior grades one of them, 
a sort of familiar, the editor of a paper devoted to his 
Excellency as a candidate (a second time) for the presi 
dency. To this editor Scott s comments on the order 
were casually mentioned, and this was repeated, by the 
latter, in the same way, to a scribbler in the same 
paper a former aide-de-camp to a rival general. This 
ingenious miscreant, from vicarious hostility, a love of 
mischief, or some hope of personal benefit, addressed 
General Jackson, anonymously, giving Scott s com 
ments, but suppressing the praises of Jackson, and 
enclosing a newspaper slip, of his own writing (which 



Bad Temper Bullying. 199 

he attributed to Scott), attacking Jackson! The en 
tanglement thus produced was slowly unravelled in 
the next ten or twelve years. Jackson enclosed to 
Scott a copy of the anonymous letter (refusing the 
original) and the contemptible printed article, demand 
ing, etc. In reply, Scott (also suppressing his praises) 
acknowledged and repeated his comments on the order, 
but spurned the printed squib. Then came the rejoin 
der full of bad temper, bad writing, and bad logic, but 
containing no challenge only intimating that Scott 
might, if he pleased, call him to the field ! Now this 
was as arrogant as absurd ; for the law of the duello 
requires that the party, first conceiving himself to be 
insulted, should make such call otherwise there would 
be a mere competition in vulgar abuse, as in the quar 
rels of fishwomen. Scott, however, for the sake of a 
conceit that forced itself upon him, chose for the mo 
ment to consider the rejoinder as a challenge, in order 
to add that he declined the combat as his " ambition 
was not that of Erostratus" intimating that being 
without distinction, he waived his only chance of 
acquiring any by killing a defender of his country. 
Jackson, probably, not understanding the compliment, 
hugged the pleasanter conceit to his bosom, that he 



200 Fancied Triumph. 

had won another personal victory by bullying! It 
seemed cruel to disturb so much happiness, and Scott 
left his enemy in all his glory. 

In the next six years the report often reached Scott 
and down to a late day, that Jackson had declared he 
would cut off Scott s ears (his usual threat against 
offenders) the first time they should chance to meet. 
They first saw each other in Washington, December, 
1823. Jackson had just taken his seat in the Senate, 
and Scott was en route for the Western Department, 
headquarters, Louisville, Kentucky, and thence to the 
Gulf of Mexico, etc., etc. During his short stay in 
Washington, Scott having the privilege of the floor 
was every day in the Senate chamber (when open) un 
armed ; for he never has worn a concealed weapon 
always declaring it would be the smaller evil that he, 
or any other person should be slain, than to set so bad 
an example. He frequented the Senate not to attack, 
or to insult, but simply to put himself under the eye 
of Jackson contriving to pass out the chamber, on 
adjournment, just ahead of him. 

Wearied with this state of things, and impatient to 
proceed to his duties in the Southwest, this letter was 
written : 



Correspondence Reopened. 201 

General Scott to General Jackson. 

WASHINGTON, D. C., December 11, 1823. 

SEE: 

One portion of the American community has long 
attributed to you the most distinguished magnanimity, 
and the other portion the greatest desperation, in your 
resentments. Am I to conclude that both are in error ? 
I allude to circumstances which have transpired be 
tween us, and which need not here be recapitulated, 
and to the fact that I have now been six days in your 
immediate vicinity without having attracted your no 
tice. As this is the first time in my life that I have 
been within a hundred miles of you, and as it is barely 
possible that you may be ignorant of my presence, I 
beg leave to state that I shall not leave the District 
before the morning of the 14th inst. 

I have the honor to be, sir, 

Your most obedient servant, 

WINFIELD SCOTT 
The HON. GENERAL A. JACKSON, Senator, etc. 

The following answer was promptly returned : 
9* 



202 Adjustment. 

General Jackson to General Scott. 

MR. O NEiL s, December 11, 1823. 

SIR: 

Your letter of to-day has been received. Whether 
the world are correct or in error, as regards my " mag 
nanimity," is for the world to decide. I am satisfied 
of one fact, that when you shall know me better, you 
will not be disposed to harbor the opinion, that any 
thing like " desperation in resentment " attaches to me. 

Your letter is ambiguous; but, concluding from 
occurrences heretofore, that it was written with friend 
ly views, I take the liberty of saying to you, that when 
ever you shall feel disposed to meet me on friendly 
terms, that disposition will not be met by any other 
than a correspondent feeling on my part. 

have the honor to be, sir, 
Your most obedient servant, 

ANDREW JACKSON. 

GENERAL W. SCOTT. 

Scott, though prepared for the worst, was pleased 
with Jackson s reply, and, as the younger man, lost no 
time in waiting upon the honorable Senator. He was 



Malice m Petto. 203 

graciously received, and the next day took the road to 
the West. It is painful to reflect that so amicable a 
settlement only meant, with one of the parties, a post 
ponement of revenge to a more " convenient season." 



CHAPTEK XYII. 

TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT MILITARY INSTITUTES TACTICS 

DEATH OF GENERAL BROWN MACOMB PROMOTED 

ANIMATED CORRESPONDENCE. 

IN the National Gazette of Philadelphia (Septem 
ber 22, 1821), I published a Scheme for Restricting the 
Use of Ardent Spirits in the United States, in which I 
gave a glance at the history of intemperance from the 
earliest times, and its frightful statistics among our 
selves. Mr. "Walsh, the able and accomplished editor, 
published the essay in a supplement of thirteen col 
umns, and heralded it with high praises in the Gazette 
itself. The following is the opening paragraph giving 
the origin of the essay : 



Temperance Movement. 205 

" It is now many years since the writer of this 
essay was first made to reflect, with some intensity, on 
the vice of drunkenness, whilst endeavoring to apply a 
remedy, in a small corps, to that greatest source of 
disease and insubordination in the rank and file of an 
army. Having the attention so awakened, and subse 
quently being much accustomed to change of place 
from one extreme of the Union to another, he has been 
led to observe, with a more than usual keenness, the 
ravages of the same habit among the more numerous 
classes of the community. The conviction has thus 
been forced upon him that, of all accidental evils, this 
is the most disastrous to our general population." 

The principal merit of the essay is that it led to 
the formation of temperance societies, since so general, 
throughout the United States. 

A little before that time, I had become a member 
of societies for the prevention of pauperism, and the 
suppression of vice and immorality, to which the essay 
was a contribution. 

True to my motto when solitary, le not idle; and 
to the maxim, in peace, prepare for war / I conceived 
the idea, in 1818, of preparing a system of General 
Regulations or Military Institutes for the army. After 



206 Military Institutes. 

a wide study, begun long before, I made a rigorous 
analysis of the whole subject, and submitted it to the 
War Department, which being approved, and provided 
for by Congress, I duly executed. 

This was the first time that the subjects, embraced, 
were ever reduced, in any army, to a regular analysis, 
and systematized into institutes. The Legislation Mili- 
taire of France, was indeed, most copious, containing 
all that can be desired for an army, in the field ex 
cepting tactics, strategy, and engineering each of 
which and some other branches of war, properly re 
quiring separate treatises. And the English book of 
General Regulations^ was also composed of indepen 
dent articles, without connection or system. But in 
the Institutes^ besides definitions of administration, in 
struction, service, police, subjects treated of there is a 
due logical connection and dependence between the 
parts, not found in the other books mentioned. 

How the auihor s great labors on this and his tac 
tical works have been obscured, mutilated, and pirated, 
by permission of superior authority, from 1836, down 
to 1861 inclusive, to the injury of the service, through, 
I must confess, my neglect of my own interests, may 
be touched upon in the sequel of thia narrative. 



Tactics for the MiliUa. 207 

It has been seen that I was president of a board of 
infantry tactics when the treaty of peace with Great 
Britain arrived in February, 1815. Their labors were 
hastily and imperfectly concluded by that great event. 
Another board, on the same subject, of which I was 
again president, met at "West Point in 1824. Each of 
these boards took, as its basis, the French tactics the 
same that I had orally and practically taught in the 
camp of instruction at Buffalo, beginning in March, 
1814. 

Besides the Board of Tactics for the army, in 1824, 
I was president of another, in 1826, at Washington, 
consisting of two general officers of the militia Major- 
General T. Cadwallader, of Philadelphia, a very well 
read soldier, and who, in the war of 1812- 15, for 
some time, was commander-in-chief of that department 
a citizen of the greatest moral weight of character 
and Brigadier-General Sumner, long the intelligent 
adjutant-general of Massachusetts together with five 
army officers. This board was instructed to report: 
1. A plan for the organization and instruction of the 
whole body of the militia of the United States ; 2. A 
system of artillery tactics ; 3. A system of cavalry tac 
tics ; and 4. A system of infantry and rifle tactics all 



208 Death of Major- General Brown. 

four for the benefit of the militia of the Union. The 
first and fourth of those reports were from Scott s pen, 
and of the fourth, sixty thousand copies were printed 
by order of Congress at once, for general distribution. 

In the third year (February, 1828) of the second 
Adams s Administration a statesman of great learning 
and abilities ; of high patriotism and conscientiousness 
an unostentatious Christian honest, and as obsti 
nately brave as any Puritan in Cromwell s time 
Major-General Brown, general-in-chief of the army, 
died, and Jackson had resigned to be Governor of 
Florida which left me senior as brevet-major-general, 
from July 25th, whereas Games brevet of major-gen 
eral only gave rank from August 15th, and Macomb s 
only from September llth all in 1814. But Macomb s 
ordinary commission was only that of colonel of engi 
neers, to which he had been cut down at the last re 
duction of the army in 1821. Both Scott and Gaines, 
therefore, were not only Macomb s seniors, by brevet, 
but also as brigadiers by ordinary commission over his 
ordinary commission as colonel. It is true, however, 
that the President has never been legally bound in 
making promotions, beyond the rank of colonel, to 
restrict himself, absolutely, to seniority. Hence the 



Cabinet Decide to Promote Scott. 209 

question Who shall be selected to fill Brown s vacan 
cy ? became quite general. 

An incident now occurred which, among prudes, 
and men like prudes, may be considered beneath the 
dignity of history, or memoirs, to record. 

Two ladies, sisters, of great excellence Mrs. Mason, 
of Anacosta Island, Georgetown, and Mrs. Rush, wife 
of the Secretary of the Treasury, waited upon the wife 
of the President to solicit the appointment for Macomb, 
who, if promoted, as they said, had promised to make 
the son-in-law of Mrs. Mason (Lieutenant Cooper, then 
at Fortress Monroe, now adjutant-general of the Con 
federate army) an aide-de-camp. Mrs. Adams, mistress 
of all the proprieties of the sex, and her "pride of 
place," archly replied: "Truly ladies, though Mes- 
dames Maintenon and Pompadour are said to have 
appointed all the generalissimos of their times, I do 
not think that such matters appertain to women ; but 
if they did, and I had any influence, it should be given 
to Mrs. General Scott, with whom I accidentally, in 
travelling, last summer, became acquainted." (The 
authority for this statement is the late Dr. Hunt, who, 
as family physician, happened to be present, and who 
often repeated it to many persons, several of whom are 



210 A Secret Fetch Appointment of Maconib. 

still living.) All this time I happened to be inspecting 
the Indian frontiers of Louisiana and Arkansas. The 
ladies, though defeated in their first effort, did not stop 
there. At their instance, a master now took the mat 
ter in hand ; for Mr. Secretary Rush, a most amiable 
and persuasive gentleman, had not resided at a Euro 
pean court (London) without improvement in the arts 
of insinuation. The President held an evening consul 
tation with many of his cabinet on the question Who 
shall be the new general-in-chief ? present, Mr. Clay, 
Mr. Southard, Mr. Wirt, and Mr. Rush. I was named 
and approved without discussion or dissent. The four 
members of the cabinet happened to be severally en 
gaged for the evening to the distinguished wife of a 
distinguished Senator (Johnston) of Louisiana. All 
took leave of the President together; but Mr. Rush 
soon turned back as if he missed his gloves or hand 
kerchief. The game was now readily won ; for know 
ing Mr. Adams s horror of bloodshed in private com 
bat, he pressed the strong probability, according to 
him, of a deadly affair of pistols between Scott and 
Gaines (of which there was not the slightest danger) 
if either of them should be appointed to the vacancy ; 
whereas, as he argued, with Macomb at the head of the 



Influence of Woman. 211 

army, all would be acquiescent and harmonious! It 
only remains to be added, that Mr. Adams confessed 
to Mr. Clay and other cabinet advisers, after the nomi 
nation, that, to save bloodshed he had changed his 
mind; that Cooper was in good faith appointed aide- 
de-camp, and that his most excellent wife (who has 
been kind to at least one Union prisoner at Richmond) 
was brought up to "Washington and to her affectionate 
mother. 

How nugatory are human institutions ! The Salic 
law may be established in monarchies, and women ex 
cluded from the polls, as well as from office, in repub 
lics. It is all in vain ; for there is " a higher law," 
" which altereth not " the result of civilization that 
bends imperial man to the stronger will of the weaker 
vessel ! 

A long an,d very animated correspondence ensued 
between the "War Department and myself consequent 
on its order placing me under the command of Macomb, 
a junior major-general that is, a superior under an in 
ferior officer. As all the letters are in print they need 
not be reproduced in this narrative. The heads of my 
argument against the anomaly, may, however, be suc 
cinctly stated thus: That Macomb, though a major- 



212 Value of Brevet Rank, etc. 

general, was not the major-general of the whole army 
there being several others of the same grade (by 
brevet) and no such grade, in law, as the major-general 
or general-in-chief the latter being a designation of 
convenience only, and meaning, simply, the senior of 
several others of the same grade, like commodore, at 
that day, meaning the senior commander of several 
vessels besides his own, whether commanded by mid 
shipmen or post captains. 2. That rank is rank, 
whether the same be conferred by ordinary or brevet 
commission both being equally the creatures of the 
law unless the law has made a difference to the preju 
dice of one or the other rank, as in the 61st article of 
war, which is against brevet rank only within regi 
ments or some other similar corps, as the corps of engi 
neers. I did not claim the right to command Macomb, 
unless, coming together on common duty, when one 
would be obliged to command the other, which it was 
always competent for the Executive, by arrangement, 
to avoid, as I might be rightly assigned to some sep 
arate command or duty, in direct correspondence with 
the Executive, or laid, by the latter on the shelf, as has 
become so common recently. I simply contended that 
no senior, in rank, of the same grade, whether by brevet 



Mr. Adams in Controversy. 213 

or otherwise, had ever been, or could be, legally 
placed under a junior in the British or American 
army, except by the consent of the senior, and, that, 
the rules and articles of war were the same in the two 
armies. 

Mr. Adams, as was well known, read, during his 
presidency, with conscientiousness, every paper, con 
nected with every important subject, that required 
Executive decision, and, in this controversy, in which, 
by inveiglement, he had become, virtually, a principal 
he did more, he wrote, himself, most of the replies 
to my formidable appeals and demonstrations. With 
the obstinacy of a Roundhead, equal to his invincible 
honesty, he brought to bear against me all the great 
resources of his rhetoric and ratiocination; and, per 
haps, it may even be added some of the tricks of the 
schoolmen being hard ppessed and animated to for- 
getfulness. One of his clever fetches overwhelmed me 
for a moment. Up to April, 1818, all brevets in the 
army, including mine, had been conferred by the Presi 
dent, without the concurrence of the Senate. Ergo, 
they had been unconstitutionally given, or were of lit 
tle or no worth ; for the supreme law had declared 
that " Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of 



214 Scott in Reply. 

such inferior officers as they think proper in the Presi 
dent alone." * Recovering from the blow, I recollected 
that, in all tariffs for the exchange of prisoners of war, 
agreed upon by belligerents, the value of every grade 
of rank is estimated in privates. Thus in the cartel 
between the United States and Great Britain in the 
war of 1812- 15, a brigadier-general is put down as 
worth thirty privates, and a major-general at only ten 
more. Consequently, President Madison in making 
me a major-general, by brevet, had not made a major- 
general out and out (under the act of Congress), but 
only added the fractional value of ten privates to the 
grade of brigadier-general before (in my case), solemn 
ly approved by the Senate ; that is, but a fourth of the 
full value of a major-general. To this reply, over 
whelming in its turn, I added the resolution of Con 
gress giving me a gold medal, and two other acts, all 
recognizing, by express citation, my higher rank. I 
then turned upon my great adversary in the contro 
versy, and triumphantly summed up by saying if 
that presentation of my case amounted to nothing, 

* This case shows that it is as dangerous to possess certain arts of 
rhetoric as to wear concealed weapons, as even good men are liable, un 
der excitement, to use them improperly. 



Smgular Coincidence. 215 

" why then, the world and all that s in it, is noth 
ing; the covering sky is nothing; Bohemia nothing 
[etc.], for nothing, have these nothings, if this be 
nothing ! " 

Mr. Adams confessed himself pleased with the earn 
estness of this rejoinder ; but it seems to belong to the 
creed of Roundheads, notwithstanding their great char 
acteristics for good, in the past, and for the future, 
never to acknowledge error. 

An incident occurred in this controversy, so curi 
ous, that it seems to be entitled to a record in this 
place. The late adjutant-general (Jones), a good sol 
dier and a better man, calling on business one morn 
ing, ftyund the President reading one of my letters then 
just received, and laughing heartily. " Here," said 
Mr. Adams, giving an abstract of the letter in his 
hand " the general is commenting on the 61st, and 
62d articles " of war relative to rank and command, 
which, like the whole series, had come down from 
September, 1776, as borrowed by Congress from Eng 
land, without change, till 1806 and charges that 
" some bungler, no doubt a clerk in the War Depart 
ment, had ignorantly made the revision." Renewing 
his laughter, Mr. Adams added : " I am that bung- 



216 Power and Obstinacy Succeed. 

ling clerk, for being a member of the Senate s com 
mittee, to which the subject was referred, in 1806, the 
labor of the revision fell to me ! " 



CHAPTER XYIII. 

BLACK HAWK WAR CHOLERA IK THE AEMY INDIAN 

TREATIES ROMANTIC TALE. 

IN 1832, Indian hostilities of some magnitude broke 
out against the then frontier settlements of the Upper 
Mississippi. Brigadier-General Atkinson, a dear friend 
of the autobiographer, an excellent man and fine sol 
dier, collected such forces as were at hand regulars, 
under Colonel (afterwards President) Taylor, with a 
much greater number of Illinois volunteers and 
marched against Black Hawk and his volunteer band 
of confederate Sacs and Foxes, who were supported, 
not only by the sympathies, but material, secret aid, of 
their neighbors, the Winnebago tribe. As the exam- 
10 



218 Asiatic CJwlera Scott the Doctor. 

pie of Black Hawk was likely to become infectious 
among many other Indians in that quarter Sioux, etc., 
etc., Scott, who commanded at the time in the Eastern 
half of the United States, was, to meet contingencies, 
ordered to the Northwest, with a respectable number 
of regulars taken from the seaboard defences. Ascend 
ing Lake Huron, the Asiatic cholera, the new scourge 
of mankind which had just before been brought to 
Quebec, found its way up the chain of waters, in time 
to infect the troops of Scott s expedition at different 
points on the lakes. In his particular steamer, the dis 
ease broke out suddenly, and with fatal violence. The 
only surgeon on board, in a panic, gulped down half a 
bottle of wine ; went to bed, sick, and ought to have 
died. There was nobody left that knew anything of 
the healing art, or of the frightful distemper only 
Scott, who, anticipating its overtaking him in the 
Northwest, had taken lessons from Surgeon Mower, 
stationed in New York eminent in his profession, 
and of a highly inquiring, philosophic mind in respect 
to the character, and mode of treating the disease. 
Thus he became the doctor on the afflicting occasion 
no doubt a very indifferent one, except in labor and 
intrepidity. He had provided the whole expedition 



Chicogo Atkinson Triumphs. 219 

with the remedies suggested by Doctor Mower, which, 
on board his steamer, he applied, in great part, with 
his own hand to the sick. His principal success was 
in preventing a general panic, and, mirdbile dictu ! 
actually cured, in the incipient stage, by command, 
several individuals of that fatal preparation for the 
reception of the malady. It continued several days 
after landing, in July, at Chicago then but a hamlet. 
As soon as the troops had become sufficiently convales 
cent they were marched thence across the wild prairies, 
inhabited by nomads of Potawatamies Indians of 
doubtful neutrality. Scott preceded the detachments, 
and on arriving at Prairie du Chien, was glad to find 
that Atkinson, after a most fagging march of weeks 
and hundreds of miles, following the devious retreat of 
the Hawk, finally overtook him at the mouth of the 
Badaxe in the act of crossing the Mississippi, with his 
band, and in a gallant combat, killed many of his fol 
lowers, made others prisoners, and dispersed the re 
mainder. The principal chief and many hundreds of 
his people, men, women, and children, escaped across 
the river; soon, however, to be brought in by the 
Sioux, who were intimidated by the knowledge that 
reinforcements were approaching from the East. All 



220 A Nolle Volunteer. 

the fugitives from the battle, on both sides of the 
Mississippi, were ultimately brought in. Inspecting 
the hospital at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Chien (Tay 
lor s post), Scott was struck with the remarkably fine 
head of a tall volunteer, lying on his side, and seeking 
relief in a book. To the question " What have you 
there, my friend ? " the wounded man pointed to the 
title page of Young s Night Thoughts. Scott sat 
down on the edge of the bunk, already interested, and 
learned this story : 

The reader s brother, Mr. Paine, was Black Hawk s 
first victim. Not in a spirit of revenge, but to protect 
the surviving frontier settlers, the wounded man had 
become a volunteer. Hiding into the battle of the Bad- 
axe, he passed an armed Indian boy, not more than in 
his fourteenth year, whom he might easily have sabred, 
but that he thought him a harmless child. The incip 
ient warrior, however, fired, and lodged a ball against 
the spine of the noble volunteer, who, though still 
suffering greatly, declared that he preferred his con 
dition to the remorse he should have felt if he had 
killed the boy believing him to have been harmless. 
Scott soothed the Christian hero by giving him the 
story (told above) of the Robinson Crusoe Pain, of the 



Rock Island Assemblage of Indians. 221 

Isle of Cape Breton, and took leave with moistened 
eyes. 

Scott, with his principal forces, descended the Mis 
sissippi to Rock Island, a little above the mouth of 
Eock River, which he had given to all the neighboring 
Indians friendly, neutral, or lately in arms as the 
point of assemblage for the adjustment, by treaty, etc., 
of the rewards or punishments due to conduct in the 
recent troubles. There soon approached the confeder 
ate Sacs and Foxes, noble tribes, who reminded one of 
Dryden s fine triplet : t 

" Free as nature first made man, 

Ere the base laws of servitude began, 
When wild in woods the noble savage ran." 

The cunning "Winnebagoes were also coming in, as 
well as the (for a time) doubtful bands of Sioux, and 
the not unfriendly Menominees. But just then the 
cholera broke out among the troops at the island, in 
all the violence of a first attack. On that account, 
Scott sent directions to all those Indians not to ap 
proach him till a new summons. In the mean time 
an incident occurred, like several others of a later date, 
at the same place, to illustrate the manners morals, 
mceurs of our red men not yet taught by his white 



222 Cholera Again Indian Anecdote. 

brethren to lie, to cheat and steal, except to and from 
an enemy. 

There were found at Fort Armstrong, Kock Island, 
the appointed scene of diplomacy, three civil prisoners, 
Sacs, confined by an Indian agent on the charge of 
murder that is, surprising and killing a party of 
Menominees (old enemies), in exact retaliation, and 
according to Indian habits, of a like act on the part 
of the latter. 

In reference to the terrible cholera, Scott said to 
the prisoners : " If I permit you, as you desire, to seek 
safety in the prairies, and, if attacked with the disease, 
to cure yourselves, with your own unscientific reme 
dies will you, when the cholera shall have left the 
island, return here to be dealt with probably hung 
as a civil court may adjudge?" They gave the re 
quired pledge. 

It was accordingly arranged, that on the exhibition 
of a certain signal, hung out from a dead tree, at an 
elevated point of the island, they would return. Load 
ed with hard bread, and armed with guns, they were 
put ashore on the mainland. The cholera having 
passed away, the signal was given, when, in a day or 
two, the three murderers presented themselves ! Scott 



Indians Recalled Anecdote. 223 

placed them again on parole, to await the answer to 
an appeal, in their behalf, he had already made to 
Washington. The answer finally came and was favor 
able. 

The new summons was now given to all the tribes 
before mentioned, and obeyed, when conferences and 
grand councils of war for the settlements, before 
alluded to, commenced. While these were pending, 
a demand came up, from a judge of Illinois, sixty miles 
below, for an Indian murderer, his name unknown, 
but who had been distinctly traced to the camp of the 
great body of Sacs and Foxes whom the chiefs had 
contrived to hold in neutrality during the recent hos 
tilities influenced mainly by Keokuk not a hered 
itary chief, and only a principal brave or warrior, 
the sense bearer, orator, and treasurer of the confeder 
acy. The demand was communicated to this remark 
able man. After a little musing, the painful truth of 
the story seemed to flash upon him. With candor he 
stated the grounds of his fears. A young brave of some 
twenty years of age, the son of a distinguished chief, 
had long sought to marry a handsome young squaw, 
the daughter of another famous chief; but the maiden 
repulsed the lover, applying to him the most oppro- 



224 Romantic Marriage. 

brious epithet squaw he never having taken a scalp, 
killed a grizzly bear, nor, by surprise, robbed an enemy 
of his arms, horse, or wife. Hence, she said her lover 
was not a firave, but a woman. Her sympathies were, 
moreover, with Black Hawk her only brother having 
run off with that reckless chief. All these particulars 
were not yet known to the wise treasurer; for he 
had only been surprised at the change of conduct 
in the ~belle sauvage, who had so suddenly married 
her lover. Keokuk, in good faith, said he would in 
quire, for his great care had been to save his people 
from destructive war and entire spoliation, with which 
Black Hawk s conduct had caused them to be threat 
ened. 

The next day he called at headquarters and whis 
pered that his fears had proved prophetic; that the 
happy bridegroom had, for the good of the confeder 
acy, confessed himself to be the guilty party, and was 
at hand ; but begged the general to repeat, in a full 
council, the demand, etc. This was accordingly done, 
and as soon as Scott s peroration I demand the mur 
derer ! was interpreted, the young Apollo stood up and 
said : I am the man ! "With a violent stamp and voice 
Scott called out the guard ! A sergeant with a dozen 



jBrideyroorn? s Terrible Trials. 225 

grenadiers rushed in, seized the offender and carried 
him off. 

When the blacksmith began to place and rivet irons 
upon him he struggled furiously. It took several of 
the guard to hold him down. He said he did not come 
forward to be ironed ; he did not wish to be tried, that 
he preferred to be shot at once. He was sent down to 
the Illinois court, then in session ; put on his trial, and 
notwithstanding the strong circumstantial evidence, 
and that it was proven he had acknowledged the kill 
ing in a hand-to-hand fight a tricky lawyer, well pro 
vided with the means of bribing, no doubt, by the 
chiefs of the confederacy, obtained from the jury a 
verdict of not guilty. 

The acquitted had yet to pass another ordeal one 
of fire and water. A swift horse, halfway between the 
court and the Mississippi (a few hundred yards off) had 
been provided for the occasion ; but frontier men al 
ways have their rifles in hand, and their horses ready. 
The lawyer hastened his client out of court, and gained 
for him a good start. " Fly, young man, or your dear- 
bought Helen will soon be a widow ! " In a minute, 
followed by some whizzing shots, he was in the saddle. 
In another, " horse and rider " were plunged into " the 
10* 



226 Escape Conferences Councils. 

great father of waters," swimming side by side. 
came up furiously a dozen mounted riflemen, who 
threw away their lead at the too distant game. The 
last news of the romantic Sac represented him as the 
happy father of a thriving family of "young barba 
rians," by more than a " Dacian mother," all far be 
yond the Mississippi. 

Conferences were held with the Menominees and 
Sioux, and treaties signed with first the Winnebagoes, 
and next with the confederate Sacs and Foxes, in sep 
arate general councils. There was a second commis 
sioner, united with Scott, in these negotiations Gov 
ernor Reynolds. But the wearer of the sword, before 
Indians, is the effective orator. 

The spirit of forbearance and liberality, on the part 
of the United States, were the prominent features in 
those settlements. Scott opened each council with 
stern reproach reminding the confederate tribes that, 
by their failure to restrain one of their chiefs, Black 
Hawk, from making an unjust war upon the unoffend 
ing white settlers, near them, the whole confederacy 
had forfeited as much of their territory as the conquer 
ors might choose to claim as an indemnity; and the 
Winnebagoes were informed, that their secret en- 



Peace Dictated Indians Grateful. 

couragement and preparations to join in highly crim 
inal hostilities, made them liable to like punishment. 

These emphatic denunciations being made perfectly 
clear, through excellent interpreters, and their justice 
shown to be indisputable, Scott, on each occasion, pro 
ceeded : " Such is justice, between nation and nation, 
against which none can rightfully complain ; but as 
God in his dealings with human creatures tempers 
justice with mercy or else the whole race of man 
would soon have perishedso shall we, commissioners, 
in humble imitation of divine example, now treat you, 
my red brethren ! who have offended both against God 
and your great human father, at "Washington." He 
then, in each case, demanded a portion of their super 
fluous territory from the confederates, that next to the 
Mississippi, now the best part of Iowa ; and from the 
"Winnebagoes the northern part of Illinois paying 
liberally for the cessions, and stipulating for the sup 
port at the cost of the United States, of schools and 
workshops, to teach reading, writing, arithmetic, and 
the more necessary mechanical arts. 

Grateful replies were returned in each council. 
That of Keokuk, on the part of the Sacs and Foxes, 
was full of sound sentiment, power, and pathos. 



228 Ball Pantomime Illumination. 

The evening after signing the last treaty, the gen 
eral gave a grand dinner to the principal chiefs, and 
had later, a brilliant display of pyrotechnics that is, 
the throwing of fire balls from mortars, and firing of 
single and batteries of rockets, which caused much 
shouting of delight from the Indians encamped on the 
mainland Rock Island being in the centre of an 
amphitheatre of high hills notwithstanding their 
usual nil admirari, or phlegm. 

The young officers of the army all volunteers had 
been discharged by Scott, soon after the battle of the 
Badaxe had a dance on the green turf at the same 
time reels and quadrilles with young Iwaves the 
Indian mwurs, like those of the Turks, forbidding that 
the red women should mix themselves up, in public, 
with their male superiors barbarians! Many of the 
softer sex, however, were allowed to look on the 
dancers, and showed by their giddy chatterings that 
they would have been happier if whirled about in the 
dance by those charming young white braves ! 

Ah ! how sad for man, and woman too, if not 
allowed, in youth and innocency, to converse, to talk, 
to play and laugh together. 

The male partners of our officers were quick in 



Winding Up Contentment. 229 

step and imitation, as well as in loud laughter, at every 
turn. A band furnished the music and heightened the 
joy of all. 

Keokuk, too, contributed not a little to the enter 
tainment by a pantomime, which needed no interpre 
tation, of one of his successful expeditions against a 
hostile party. First the tedious march; streams to 
swim ; next the rapid run, and now the stealthy step- 
beckoning to his followers the discovery of the unsus 
pecting enemy at camp fires with rifles laid aside, 
waiting a moment longer for the cooked venison they 
were destined never to eat ; then the rush upon the 
unarmed, and the slaying. In a moment all was over, 
but the shouting. Bigotini was never happier in pan 
tomime at the Paris Opera. 

A war dance was added by the same accomplished 
hero in peace as in war, whom Scott had solemnly in 
vested with the rank and broad silver medal of a chief, 
with the consent of the tribe, and on an equal footing 
with the proudest who had inherited the title through 
long generations. 

The sequel of the late troubles were thus closed, 
when all, of both colors, dispersed, contented and 
cheerful. 



230 Complimentary Notices. 

It was in allusion to the cholera and the foregoing 
settlements with the Indians, that General Cass, then 
Secretary of War, now one of the most venerable of 
American citizens, after a long life of usefulness and 
distinction without one error in morals, and but few 
in politics addressed to Scott a letter containing this 
passage : 

" Allow me to congratulate you, sir, upon this for 
tunate consummation of your arduous duties, and 
to express my entire approbation of the whole course 
of your proceedings, during a series of difficulties 
requiring higher moral courage than the opera 
tions of an active campaign, under ordinary circum 
stances." 

A published letter from an intelligent officer of the 
army, still unknown, but supposed to have been the 
lamented Captain Richard Bache (a descendant of 
Dr. Franklin), deserves a place in this narrative. 
It is more in detail, and better motive than the Secre 
tary s : 

He says that " the general s course of conduct on 
that occasion should establish for him a reputation not 
inferior to that which he has earned in the battle field ; 
and should exhibit him not only as a warrior, but as a 



Anonymous Applause. 231 

man not only as the herb of battles, but as the hero 
of humanity. It is well known that the troops in that 
service suffered severely from the cholera, a disease 
frightful enough from its rapid and fatal effects, but 
which came among us the more so, from the known in 
experience of our medical men, and from the general 
belief, at that time, in its contagiousness. Under such 
circumstances it was clearly the general s duty to give 
the best general directions he could for proper attend 
ance on the sick, and for preventing the spread of the 
disease. When he had done this, his duty was per 
formed, and he might have left the rest to his medi 
cal officers. But such was not his course. He thought 
he had other duties to perform, that his personal safe 
ty must be disregarded to visit the sick, to cheer the 
well, to encourage the attendants, to set an example 
to all, and to prevent a panic in a word, to save 
the lives of others at the risk of his own. All this 
he did faithfully, and when he could have had no 
other motive than that of doing good. Here was no 
glory to be acquired; here was none of the excite 
ments of the battle field; here was no shame to be 
avoided, or disgrace to be feared; because his gene- 
eral arrangements and directions to those whose part 



232 Continuation, etc. 

it was to battle with sickness, had satisfied duty. His 
conduct then exhibited a trait in his character which 
made a strong impression on me, and which, in my 
opinion, justice requires should not be overlooked." 



CHAPTEK XIX. 

REJOINS HIS FAMILY ORDERED TO CHARLESTON NULLI 
FICATION INCIDENTS PEACE RESTORED. 

SCOTT now hastened to join his family, at West 
Point, in their retreat from the cholera in ISTew York. 
He himself, always in its presence, experienced symp 
toms of the infection ; but without taking a remedy, 
he had, so far, escaped prostration. 

Passing through Cincinnati, he told the eminent 
Dr. Drake, judging by his usual feelings, that the evil 
was about to burst upon the inhabitants, which hap 
pened the next day. Sleeping at Chambersburg, 
where he arrived late at night, he was much cramped, 
and learned, next morning, that a cholera patient was 
just dead on the same floor. At Philadelphia he told 



234: Reports to the President at Washington. 

his friends, Professors Chapman and Gibson, that the 
disease was still lingering with them, and always well 
on the road, he might have said the same thing at New 
York. Here, eating a sumptuous dinner, for the first 
time in many months, with wine, at Delmonico s, he 
took the evening steamer for West Point, with stron 
ger premonitions than ever before ; lay down to sleep, 
determined if, on waking up, the symptoms continued, 
to pass his family and die somewhere beyond them. 
Happily, getting into a healthy atmosphere, he, at the 
end of two hours, found himself again well. 

It was now about the 4th of November. But little 
rest with his family was allowed. Having done much 
work, more was demanded. In a few days he received 
an order from the War Department, marked confiden 
tial, to hasten to Washington. He passed, unknowing 
ly, Mr. Secretary Cass on the road to the North. 
Scott, arriving in the evening, had no one to report 
to, but President Jackson himself. Waiting upon him 
at once, he, after a gracious reception, adverted to the 
certainty that South Carolina would very soon be out 
of the Union either by nullification or secession. On 
that probability, he condescendingly invited Scott s 
views as to the best measures of counteraction he him- 



Scott s Suggestions Made Instructions. 235 

self being patriotically resolved to stand his ground 
The Union must and shall ~be preserved. Scott, in 
reply, suggested strong garrisons for Fort Moultrie 
(Sumter was not quite above ground), Castle Pinckney, 
and the arsenal at Augusta, Georgia. The latter was 
filled with the materiel of war then easily seized and 
emptied by a sudden expedition across the bridge that 
made Hamburg, in South Carolina, a faubourg of Au 
gusta there being always, in both places, hundreds of 
cotton wagons harnessed up. He added, that besides 
troops, a sloop-of-war and some revenue cutters would 
be needed in Charleston to enforce the collection of 
duties on foreign importations. " Proceed at once and 
execute those views. You have my carte blanche, in 
respect to troops ; the vessels shall be there, and writ 
ten instructions shall follow you," were the President s 
prompt orders, given orally. 

In the act of taking leave, Scott was invited to wait 
a moment for supper. He replied that as he should 
proceed South in the morning, he had only that hour 
for calling upon his friend, Ex-President Adams, a lit 
tle distance off. " That s right," said General Jackson, 
" never forget a friend." Mr. Adams astonished Scott 
not a little by two remarks : 1. " You are going South 



236 Interview with Mr. Adams. 

to watch the nullifiers." (There was no intercourse 
between him and his successor whatever.) 2. " Mr. 
Calhoun will be the first to give way. He will show 
the white feather!" 

Scott reminded Mr. Adams that this was about his 
usual time for making his regular tour of inspection 
along the Southern seacoast. " Yes," he reiterated, 
" to watch the nullifiers." 

Scott reached Charleston a few days after the passage 
of the ordinance of nullification. On the journey he 
had twisted a little an ankle. This was fortunate, and 
he made the most of the accident to cover delays at 
Charleston, Savannah, and Augusta ; for it was impor 
tant to the interests of uninterrupted peace, that he 
should not, by open preparations for defence, precipi 
tate hostilities, the minds of nullifiers, about half of 
the population, being much inflamed, and on the qui 
vive. As biennial inspector, he contrived, by a little 
hobbling, to visit Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney ; 
gave confidential instructions to enlarge and strengthen 
the fort, etc. Orders were also sent for the handfuls 
of troops (single companies, from many points) neces 
sary to complete garrisons. Thence he visited Augus 
ta in the same way, and for a like purpose. That being 



Visits Charleston, Augusta, and Savannah. 237 

accomplished, lie fell down to Savannah, where he laid 
himself up rather more than the improved ankle re 
quired, because an early return to Fort Moultrie would 
unquestionably have betrayed the special purpose of 
his presence; have caused an immediate attempt to 
seize Fort Moultrie, and, probably, an intestine war, as 
bad as that which is now (February, 1864), afflicting 
the good old Union. 

While lying at Savannah, awaiting a nearer ap 
proach of the impending crisis in South Carolina, the 
reply, below, was written to the Honorable William C. 
Preston, afterwards of the Senate of the United States 
then a leading member both of the legislature and 
convention of South Carolina. 

No one intimately acquainted with this distin 
guished man can speak of him without seeming, to a 
stranger, to run into extravagance. With the purest 
morals, and a wife worthy to glide " double, swan and 
shadow," down the stream of life with him they were 
" lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death 
[not long] divided." 

He, so highly gifted in genius and fancy ; highly 
accomplished as a scholar, a gentleman, and a states 
man ; with powers of oratory to enrapture the multi 



238 Sketch of a Noble Character. 

tude, and edify the intelligent ; with a soul so genial 
and voice so sweet, as to win all who approached him 
young and .old, men, women, and children was, at 
this unhappy period, given up to nullification. His 
good genius, however, triumphed in the end ; for he 
lived long enough to make atonement to the Union, 
and to die (in 1860) faithful to the same allegiance 
that distinguished his grandfather, Campbell, of King s 
Mountain, and also his immediate parent, General 
Frank Preston, long a member of Congress from South 
western Virginia. 

Letter from Major- General Seott to the Honorable 
Lewis Cass, Secretary at War. 

[Extract.] 

"HEADQUARTERS, EASTERN DEPARTMENT,) 
SAVANNAH, December 15, 1832. \ 

"Sra: 

" I have had the honor to address you once from 
this place since my return from Augusta. The letter 
bore date the 10th or llth instant. In it I stated that 
I had not the time to retain a copy. 

" I now take the liberty to enclose a copy of a pri 
vate letter which I addressed to William C.* Preston, 



Official and Semi-Official Correspondence. 239 

Esq., a leading member of the South Carolina Legis 
lature, and a nullifier. I do this, because letters from 
me to individuals of that party should be seen by the 
Government, and because this letter contains the senti 
ments and topics which I always urge in conversation 
with nullifiers. 

" It will be seen that I speak of the arrival of troops 
in the harbor of Charleston. I did this because I knew 
the movement of the troops was, or would be soon 
known, and because I wish to prevent the idea of 
offensive operations (invasion.) Such an idea might 
precipitate the State authorities into some act of open 
hostility, which would not fail to be followed by a 
civil war, at least among her own citizens." 

SAVANNAH, December 14, 1832. 

MY DEAK SIR : 

You have an excellent memory to remind me, after 
so long an interval, of my promise to visit you when 
next on a tour to the South, and I owe you an apology 
for not earlier acknowledging your kind letter. It was 
handed to me just as I was about to leave Charleston, 
and I have been since too constantly in motion (to Au 
gusta, and back here) to allow me to write. 



240 Subject Continued. 

As to the " speculations " at Columbia relative to 
" the object of my visit to Charleston at this moment," 
I can only say, that I am on that very tour, and about 
the very time, mentioned by me when I last had the 
pleasure of seeing you. On what evils days we have 
fallen, my good friend, when so commonplace an event 
gives rise to conjecture or speculation! I can truly 
assure you, that no one has felt more wretched than 
your humble correspondent, since an unhappy contro 
versy began to assume a serious aspect. I have always 
entertained a high admiration for the history and char 
acter of South Carolina, and accident or good fortune, 
has thrown me into intimacy, and even friendship, with 
almost every leader of the two parties which now divide 
and agitate the State. Would to God they were again 
united, as during the late war, when the federalists vied 
with the republicans in the career of patriotism and 
glory, and when her legislature came powerfully to the 
aid of the Union. Well, the majority among you have 
taken a stand, and those days of general harmony may 
never return. What an awful position for South Caro 
lina, as well as for the other States ! 

I cannot follow out the long, dark shades of the pic 
ture that presents itself to my fears. I will hope, nev- 



Subject Continued. 241 

ertheless, for the best. But I turn my eyes back, and, 
good God ! what do I behold ? Impatient South Caro 
lina could not wait she has taken a leap, and is al 
ready a foreign nation ; and the great names of Wash 
ington, Franklin, Jefferson, and Greene, no longer 
compatriot with yours, or those of Laurens, Moultrie, 
Pinckney, and Marion with mine 1 

But the evil, supposing the separation to have been 
peaceable, would not stop there. "When one member 
shall withdraw, the whole arch of the Union will tum 
ble in. Out of the broken fragments new combinations 
will arise. We should probably have, instead of one, 
three confederacies a Northern, Southern, and West 
ern reunion ; and transmontane Virginia, your native 
country, not belonging to the South, but torn off by 
the general West. I turn with horror from the picture 
I have only sketched. I have said it is dark ; let but 
one drop of blood be spilt upon the canvas, and it be 
comes " one red." 

" Lands intersected by a narrow frith 
Abhor each other. Mountains interposed 
Make enemies of nations, which had else, 
Like kindred drops, been mingled into one." 

But you and my other South Carolina friends have 
11 



242 Subject Continued. 

taken your respective sides, and I must follow out 
mine. 

You have probably heard of the arrival of two or 
three companies at Charleston, in the last six weeks, 
and you may hear that as many more have followed. 
There is nothing inconsistent with the President s mes 
sage in these movements. The intention simply is, 
that the forts in the harbor shall not be wrested from 
the United States. I believe it is not apprehended 
that the State authorities contemplate any attack, at 
least in the present condition of things, on these posts ; 
but I know it has been feared that some unauthorized 
multitude, under sudden excitement, might attempt to 
seize them. The President, I presume, will stand on 
the defensive thinking it better to discourage than to 
invite an attack better to prevent than to repel one, 
in order to gain time for wisdom and moderation to 
exert themselves in the capitol at Washington, and in 
the state house at Columbia. From humane consider 
ations like these, the posts in question have been, and 
probably will be, slightly reenforced. I state what I 
partly know, and what I partly conjecture, in order 
that the case which I see is provided for in one of your 
bills, may not be supposed to have actually occurred. 



Subject Continued. 243 

If I were possessed of an important secret of the 
Government, my honor certainly would not allow me to 
disclose it ; but there is in the foregoing neither secrecy 
nor deception. My ruling wish is, that neither party 
take a rash step, that might put all healing powers at 
defiance. It is, doubtless, merely intended to hold the 
posts for the present. A few companies are incapable 
of effecting any further object. The engineer, also, is 
going on, steadily, but slowly, in erecting the new work 
(Fort Sumter, near the site of Fort Johnson, long since 
projected for the defence of the harbor), the foundation 
of which is but just laid. When finished, some years 
hence, I trust it may long be regarded, both by South 
Carolina and the other States, as one of the bulwarks 
of our common coast. 

There is nothing in this letter intended to be con 
fidential, nor intended for the public press. "When I 
commenced it, I only designed giving utterance to pri 
vate sentiments, unconnected with public events; but 
my heart being filled with grief en account of the lat 
ter, my pen has run a little into that distress. Let us, 
however, hope for more cheering times. Yet, be this 
as it may, and whether our duties be several or com 
mon, I shall always have a place in my bosom for the 



244: Crisis Postponed. 

private affections ; and that I may ever stand in the old 
relation to you, is the sincere wish of your friend, 

WINFIELD SCOTT. 

The time of danger at length arrived, and so had 
the detachments of troops in the harbor of Charleston, 
each company astonished to meet the others. Scott 
borrowed the revenue cutter of the collector, who sup 
posed him to be bound to St. Augustine a supposition 
neither favored nor denied by Scott, who giving orders 
not to take letters, sailed from Savannah "for parts 
unknown " to all but himself. Passing the Tybee bar, 
the astonished master of the cutter was told to stand 
for the harbor of Charleston. The next day Scott was 
ensconced in Fort Moultrie, where, for several days, he 
lay, without the knowledge of anybody in Charleston, 
save his friend the great patriot and moral hero 
James L. Petigru (now lately dead of a broken heart 
at the state of the country), and a few other friends of 
the Union Poinsett, -Huger, etc., etc. 

Finding that at a general meeting in the city, the 
leaders of the quasi rebellion had proposed and carried 
a resolution to suspend its commencement, in order to 
await the result of certain compromise measures before 



Sails for New York Returns to Charleston. 245 

Congress Scott again, to avoid the irritation the threat 
ening aspect of his presence might occasion, quietly em 
barked in another cutter for the North, via Wilmington, 
North Carolina intending to return before the expira 
tion of the quasi armistice. Colonel Bankhead, Scott s 
chosen second in command a manly, generous soldier, 
was left to improve, in the mean time, the discipline of 
the troops and the strength of the forts. 

In the night, late in January, Scott reembarked in 
the lower harbor of New York for Charleston his de 
parture unknown in the city, and also his name to the 
master and owners of the packet. That same day, he 
despatched an article to his friend, General Broadnax, 
the acknowledged leader of the Virginia Legislature, 
against both nullification and secession, containing 
politico-military views and arguments not likely to 
occur to the minds of many civilians, and which, being 
published in the newspapers at the time and place, had 
a considerable effect in preventing Virginia from plung 
ing into the South Carolina vortex, to which her State 
Right doctrines made her but too prone. She was then 
saved ; but, at the second temptation (in 1861) lost in 
rebellion ! 

"The mother of States," late in January, 1833, 



246 Consultations Support of Civil Authorities. 

passed resolutions recommending that the offensive 
ordinance of South Carolina be repealed, and requesting 
Congress to mitigate the tariff. The third step, taken 
at the same time, was to appoint a commissioner of per 
suasion and peace to her wayward sister perhaps, not 
entirely in harmony with the spirit of the supreme law 
of the Union that prohibits " any agreement or com 
pact" between States. The person selected for that 
duty was the Honorable Benjamin Watkins Leigh, al 
ready mentioned in these memoirs as Scott s earliest 
and longest-continued friend soon after a distinguished 
Senator of the United States, and distinguished in every 
previous walk of his life for virtue, talent, and useful 
ness whose motto always was : Right ends, pursued 
~by means as good as the ends. Shaking hands in 
Charleston, the two friends exclaimed together : How 
strange our meeting here, and how strange the occasion ! 
In every case where there was a liability of collision 
between the Federal and State authorities, Scott con 
sulted with the District Attorney, Gilchrist, with Peti- 
gru, etc., always holding himself ready to support the 
marshal by force. Happily no collision fell out be 
tween the parties. But the duties of Scott were most 
critical, requiring the nicest observance and delicacy of 



Basis of Scott s Policy. 247 

management, to avoid the shedding of the first drop of 
blood ; for failing in this, the two home parties, nearly 
of equal numbers, and always ready for blows, would 
instantly have rushed into the affray, and have filled 
the State with the sound of hostile arms. Nor could 
such calamity have been pent up within her borders ; 
but must have raged and spread like the present dire 
rebellion. 

Perhaps the peace observances alluded to, though 
great in the aggregate, were, separately, too small in 
detail for historical record ; yet nothing that tended to 
prevent a civil war ought, by patriots, to be regarded 
as trivial. Besides, the record may be valuable to 
future commanders finding themselves in similar cir 
cumstances. The basis of Scott s policy was humility 
and forbearance on the part of the United States 
troops, officers, and men. The crews of the rowboats, 
which consisted of men selected on account of their in 
telligence and sobriety for marketing purposes, visit 
ing the post office, and conveying officers up and down 
between the fort and the city were made to compre 
hend and support that policy. The general, sometimes 
a passenger himself, took that instruction into hand. 
He said to the crews, and as often as practicable to 



248 Humility and Forbearance. 

officers and others of the garrison : " These nullifiers," 
all known by their palmetto cockades, " have, no doubt, 
become exceedingly wrong-headed, and are in the road 
to treason ; but still they are our countrymen, and may 
be saved from that great crime by respect and kindness 
on our part. We must keep our bosoms open to re 
ceive them back as brothers in the Union. If we suc 
ceed by such means in this endeavor, it will be a great 
moral triumph, worth much more to our country than 
crushing victories in the field. In walking the streets 
let us give place to all citizens. Bad words and even 
casting mud upon us, can do no harm. "We shall show 
our courage by quietly passing along. I rather think 
that I should disregard even a few brickbats, and re 
member, my gallant fellows, that you are no letter than 
your old commander! But should those misguided 
men be driven to the field by our neglect or their own 
inherent madness; should they drop the name of 
Americans, and under the wing of some foreign power 
make war upon us, then, in tears and blood we will 
crush them ! ! " Such remarks often repeated, and fall 
ing from an officer of high rank, needed, for propagation 
among troops, no printing press. They ran through 
mouths and ears of all with wonderful rapidity. 



Courtesies to Nullifiers. 249 

Hundreds of citizens, respectable men, decorated 
with the palmetto, visited the fort in the course of 
every week. Scott, and many of his intelligent officers, 
made it a point to converse freely with those citizens, 
and to show to some of the seniors and most intelligent, 
the interior of the defensive works always taking care 
to remark : " You see we have made ourselves as strong 
as possible, and wish it to be known to our neighboring 
countrymen ; because it is to be feared, that in the un 
happy excitement prevailing, some unauthorized multi 
tude, by a sudden impulse, may rush upon us, in ignor 
ance, and to their certain destruction." Some of the 
graver of those visitors were, on many occasions, even 
invited by the general to dine at the officers mess, and 
treated w r ith the highest courtesy. 

At a public meeting of nullifiers there was more 
than one a week to keep up excitement Governor 
Hamilton in a tirade told the multitude that, to try 
the question whether the Federal authorities would 
dare to stop, at the fort, dutiable articles till satisfac 
tion of all tariff demands, he had ordered some boxes 
of sugar from the Havana, and " my friends," he 
added, with great applause, " if Uncle Sam put his 
robber hand on the boxes, I Jcnow yoitll go the death 
11* 



250 Fi/re in Charleston. 

with me for the sugar ! " The ship soon arrived, the 
sugar was quietly taken out, locked up in the fort, and 
kept a secret from everybody in Charleston, except the 
importer ; because, if known, consistency in folly might 
have caused an attempt to execute the threat. 

While all good patriots were fearful of folly and 
madness on one side, and with aching eyes turned to 
Congress on the other ; that is, while all were in the 
agony of suspense a great calamity fell upon Charles 
ton, which Scott instantly sought to turn to the inter 
ests of peace. At nightfall, it was seen at the fort that 
a fire was raging in the city, which, aided by a fresh 
breeze, was likely to reduce everything combustible to 
ashes. The drums beat the long-roll, the garrison 
leaped from an unfinished supper, and, in a moment, 
all were under arms. Scott in his usual tone stated 
the reason for the call ; made a short appeal to the 
sympathies of the soldiers, and asked for volunteers to 
aid in stopping the fire. All stepped forward. He 
directed the company officers to select some three hun 
dred men, and prepare the boats. In the mean time 
he despatched Major Heileman, an excellent officer and 
man, who, from long service in the harbor had made 
himself a favorite with everybody in the city to report 



Noble Conduct of Soldiers and Sailors. 

to the Intendant (mayor) that he would soon be fol 
lowed by detachments of men anxious to help their 
friends in the existing calamity. He was told to say 
that the troops would arrive without arms, and take 
care not to allow the crabbed Intendant time to retort : 
" D n General Scott and his arms ! Pin not afraid 
of them;" but to add, in his first breath: "This is 
said in order that should you set the soldiers to guard 
banks and property in the streets, you may see the 
necessity of lending them a few stands of muskefcs. * 
The gallant Major Ringgold (mortally wounded under 
General Taylor on this side of the Rio Grande) at the 
instant came up with some eighty lusty fellows, ready 
for the good work. He reported himself to the sulky 
Intendant, unworthy of the city and his office who 
made no reply to either of those officers. Just then, a 
citizen called to Einggold, " Here, Major, for God s 
sake save my sugar refinery, for the adjoining house 
has caught the flames ! " Einggold turning to his men 
said : " Do you hear that my lads / we ll go the death 
for tlie sugar ! " a most happy quotation from Gov 
ernor Hamilton, that caused everybody to smile but 
the Intendant, who evidently considered the kind pres 
ence of the soldiers a most untoward event to the cause 



252 Good Effect Courtesy to Scott. 

of nullification. Ringgold s party soon tore down the 
house next to the refinery, and mainly by the aid of 
the other troops and a body of United States sailors, 
the devouring element was stayed everywhere. 

Scott remained up to welcome and applaud his 
noble detachments. The good citizens, melting with 
gratitude, had been liberal in the offer of bread, cheese, 
and cider the soldiers declining ardent spirits, and all, 
sober and happy, were in their own beds by one o clock 
the same night. 

Mr. Leigh, much with the nullifiers, to whom he 
had been commissioned, wrote to Scott the next day, 
that " a great good had been effected. It works pow- 
fully." 

One other incident occurred during this same state 
of lingering agony that seems entitled to come upon 
this record. The nullifiers, though they regarded Scott 
askance, and with feelings bordering on honest, but 
mistaken hatred, had not lost all the brightness of their 
old chivalry, and hence, in the Jockey Club, united 
with the Union members in extending to Scott an in 
vitation to attend the approaching races a sort of 
annual jubilee, which always brought to Charleston, 
in February, most of the numerous families of wealth, 



JHeeting of the Jockey Club. 253 

refinement, and fashion in the State. The club, more 
over, did him the honor to appoint a man of mark as 
his cicerone for the occasion, and in case of need, a 
ready, very sufficient protector. This true chevalier 
was the Ex Governor Wilson, a staunch nullifier, for 
merly a powerful editor of a newspaper ; a recent 
translator of certain Greek fragments into elegant 
English poetry ; in early life, almost a professed duel 
list, but of late the common pacificator in private quar 
rels; not yet old, but subdued in temper, probably 
more by remorse than age, and now benignant in 
smiles and sentiments. 

The two, Wilson and Scott, had hardly reached the 
Stranger s Stand, before Mr. Leigh, from the Governor s 
Stand, came almost breathless to Scott : " Why," he 
said, " this rash step you are about to take a new 
fort at this critical moment, when the friends of peace 
are just beginning to hope it possible to avoid a civil 
war?" "My good friend, I don t comprehend you," 
replied Scott. " Oh, there is no use in mystery on the 
subject. Here s a Washington paper (received in ad 
vance of the mail) containing a letter to you from the 
War Department, telling you to cause Stono Inlet to 
be examined, with a view to a fort at that point." 



254: Alarm Excited and Quieted. 

"Now it was true Scott had, some time before, received 
such letter, but was astonished to find it had been pub 
lished. It was certainly, under the circumstances, a 
most sinister publication quite athwart Scott s peace 
policy and measures; for if a spade had been, about 
that time, put into the ground for a new work beyond 
Sullivan s Island, civil war would have been inaugu 
rated on the spot. Happily Scott was enabled to say, 
with truth, that he had absolutely no intention of send 
ing an officer or a man to that point, and that to occu 
py it by a fort or troops was entirely outside of his 
military views and purposes. Mr. Leigh and Governor 
Wilson hastened to communicate this assurance to the 
high officials and others on the ground, all in a state 
of morbid excitement, breathing defiance and war. 

Considering the oral and written instructions Scott 
had before received from the President and Secretary 
of War, it is difficult to imagine the necessity for this 
missile. Through some babbler an inkling of the order 
reached the ears of a member of the House of Eepre- 
sentatives, when, in a spirit of hostility, it was called for 
and thrown out, as a firebrand among more than a 
million of States Rights men south of the Potomac 
ready for explosion. 



Peace Restored. 255 

Awhile later Congress passed the Compromise Act ; 
the South Carolina Convention reconvened and rescind 
ed the nullification ordinance, when Leigh and Scott 
returned North in a state of quiet satisfaction. 

Scott called at the President s mansion. Vice- 
President Yan Buren, a temporary guest, came down 
to receive him, and told the visitor that he had read 
all his reports, official and semi-official, from the South, 
and kindly spoke of them with emphatic approbation. 
The President himself soon followed and touched lightly 
the same subject deigning a few terms of measured 
praise. 

This extreme temperance of phrase on a great occa 
sion slightly awakened Scott s suspicion that the recon 
ciliation between the parties in 1823, was, with General 
Jackson, but external ; although the habit of his, Scott s 
mind, was of the opposite character he, always, ac 
cepting as sound maxims, that " more men are duped 
by suspicion than by confidence," * and that " Evils 
may be courted, may be woo d and won by distrust." f 
But more of the particular suspicion in the sequel. 

Mr. Leigh, who died in 1849, in a published letter, 
addressed to Edward D. Mansfield, Esq., author of 

* Le Cardinal de Retz, Liv. II. f Proverbial Philosophy. 



256 Testimony of Mr. Leigh. 

Scott s biography, and many works of great scientific 
and literary merit, said : " I was in Charleston when 
Scott arrived and assumed command [his last visit, 
about the first of February by sea, from New York], 
which he did without any parade or fuss. No one who 
had an opportunity of observing on the spot the excite 
ment that existed can have an adequate conception of 
the delicacy of the trust. General Scott had a large 
acquaintance with the people of Charleston. He was 
their friend ; but his situation was such that many, the 
great majority of them, looked upon him as a public 
enemy. ***** He thought, as I thought, 
that the first drop of blood shed in civil war, between 
the United States and one of the States, would prove 
an immedicable wound, which would end in a change 
of our institutions. He was resolved, if possible, to 
prevent a resort to arms, and nothing could have been 
more judicious than his conduct. Far from being 
prone to take offence, he kept his temper under the 
strictest guard, and was most careful to avoid giving 
occasion for offence ; yet he held himself ready to act, 
if it should become necessary, and he let that be dis 
tinctly understood. He sought the society of the lead 
ing milliners [old friends], and was in their society as 



Subject Continued. 257 

much as they would let him be, but he took care never 
to say a word to them on the subject of political differ 
ences ; he treated them as a friend. From the begin 
ning to the end his conduct was as conciliatory as it 
was firm and sincere, evincing that he knew his duty 
and was resolved to perform it, and yet that his prin 
cipal object and purpose was peace. He was perfectly 
successful, when the least imprudence might have re 
sulted in a serious collision." 



CHAPTEE XX. 



TACTICS GENERAL REGULATIONS FLORIDA WAR CREEK 

WAR JACKSON S WAR UPON SCOTT COURT OF INQUIRY. 



IN 1834r- 5 the autobiographer translated and adapt 
ed to the particular organization of the United States 
Infantry, unencumbered with a board, the new French 
Tactics on the old basis. His General Regulations for 
the army, or Military Institutes, had, in a new impres 
sion years before, dropping his name, been blurred, 
mutilated, and spoiled under high military authority. 
This, his last edition of tactics, was soon, under the 
same protection, abridged and emasculated down to 
utter uselessness, by the present adjutant-general of the 
Confederate army, without the knowledge of Scott, and 



Scotfs Tactics Superseded. 259 

next pirated, in great part, under the immediate pro 
tection of Mr. Secretary Jefferson Davis, by one of his 
pets, now a division commander in the Confederate 
army, aided by another pet of the same Mr. Davis, a 
major-general of the United States volunteers, who, 
recently, following up the old hostility of that clique, 
has entirely superseded Scott s tactics, with the consent 
of a loyal Secretary of War, and two loyal regular gen 
erals, all three the professed friends of Scott, but who 
did not chance to know anything of the particular his 
tory or the merits of the case, and through Scott s per 
sonal neglect of his own fame and interests. With a 
single added remark, the result of an old experience, 
the autobiographer will dismiss this subject for ever : 
It is extremely perilous to change systems of tactics in 
an army in the midst of a war, and highly inconvenient 
even- at the beginning of one. 

A slight incident occurred about this time, which, 
though perhaps below the dignity of history, may be 
tolerated in personal memoirs, which are usually of a 
more anecdotal character, and written with greater 
freedom and ease. 

Scott being on a short visit to Washington, had the 
honor to be invited to dine with President Jackson, 



260 Jackson s Hostility. 

and was further complimented by being assigned to 
conduct an agreeable lady, to him a stranger, to the 
table, where he was desired to place her between the 
President and himself. Towards the end of the sitting 
General Jackson said to the fair lady, in a tone of 
labored pleasantry, that is, with ill-disguised bitterness : 
"I see you are pleased with the attentions of your 
neighbor. Do you know that he has condemned all 

the measures of my administration ? " Mrs. was 

perfectly shocked. Scott promptly replied : " Mr. 
President, you are in part mistaken. I thought highly 
of your proclamation against nullifiers, and yesterday, 
in the Senate, I was equally pleased with your special 
message on the French Indemnity question, which I 
heard read." " That s candid ! " retorted the Presi 
dent. " He thinks well of two l)ut two ! of my meas 
ures." The lady evidently regarded Scott, like the old 
general, as a bad subject of the realm. The most un 
suspicious nature might now plainly see. that the bolt 
was forged, and would in due time be launched. 

The Seminole war, which commenced by the sur 
prise and massacre of Major Dade, and about one hun 
dred and ten men, December 28, 1835, may from its 
cost (about twenty millions) and duration (seven years) 



Florida War. 261 

be called a great war. Brigadier-General Clinch, near 
est at hand, advanced on the Indians, and at the head 
of a small force won the battle of Withlacoochee. 
Major-General Gaines hastily collected, at New Or 
leans, a body of volunteers and some companies of 
regulars, and soon reached Florida. He marched past 
the scene of the massacre, buried the dead, and pro 
ceeded towards Fort Drane for supplies. His detach 
ment, attacked by the Seminoles on the Withlacoochee, 
intrenched themselves, and would probably have 
shared the fate of Dade s party, but for a prompt un- 
dictated movement by Brigadier-General Clinch, com 
manding at Fort Drane : a man of singular excellence 
whose sentiments had the unvarying truth of in 
stincts, and whose common sense always rose to the 
height of the occasion. 

Clinch liberated the beleaguered Gaines, who held a 
parley with the Indians, and abandoning the great and 
single object of the Government their emigration, 
according to the treaty of Payne s Landing he an 
nulled that treaty, and told them if they would remain 
quiet, they might continue to occupy the whole coun 
try south and east of that river ! This the superannu 
ated general preposterously called dictating a peace to 



262 Scottfs Campaign in Florida. 

the Indians! and went off swiftly to New Orleans, 
rejoicing ! Now as the conceit made one man happy, 
it would have been well enough; but that the staff 
officers at that city, learning that the war had been 
happily finished by a single coup de maitfre, failed to 
send to Tampa Bay the supplies for men and horses 
that Scott, the successor of Gaines, had ordered thither ! 
Scott s embarrassment throwing out the ludicrous 
cause thereof, was serious and irremediable. 

His advance on Tampa Bay in two columns, by 
different routes^one commanded by General Clinch, 
with whom Scott marched, and the other by Colonel 
Linsay, was unmarked by a single event of interest, 
except that Clinch s passage of the Withlacoochee was 
slightly opposed by the enemy. The whole expedition 
returned (again by several routes) to the northeast of 
Florida for these reasons : 1, The failure of supplies, 
already noticed, and 2, The term of service of the 
troops, except that of a handful of regulars, was near 
its expiration. 

Scott was next ordered to the Chattahoochee River. 
The Creek Indians (much connected with the Semi- 
noles), being also under treaty stipulations to leave 
Alabama and Georgia for the far "West, had begun to 



Creek Wwr. 263 

show symptoms of resistance. He proceeded to Colum 
bus on that river, late in May, with the Florida fever 
upon him. Here he soon had collected a sufficient 
body of Georgian volunteers ; but they were without 
arms and ammunition. These supplies had been 
promptly ordered, principally from the arsenal at Au 
gusta. There was a great delay in their arrival. In 
the mean time Major-General Jesup, second in com 
mand, at the head of the Alabama volunteers, on the 
opposite side of the hostile Indians, without waiting 
for the joint action prescribed by Scott an advance 
from all points at once against the enemy, by which 
all would have been hemmed in and captured flushed 
and scattered the main body of the Creeks with but 
small results. Jesup, who was well aware of Scott s 
bad standing with the President, and to indemnify 
himself for the complaints of his senior in an unhappy 
moment a short forgetfulness of old feelings and ob 
ligations addressed a private letter to the editor of 
the official paper at Washington, denouncing Scott s 
dilatoriness against the Creeks, and likening it to his 
want of energy in the Florida war. 

The letter was laid before the President, who, too 
happy that the moment had at length arrived to launch 



264 Jesup Supersedes Scott Scott "before a Court. 

the bolt so long held in readiness, ordered Let Jesup 
be placed in command, and Scott before a Court! But 
before meeting the thunderer full face to face, it will 
be best to follow up the interminable Seminole war. 

In Florida, Jesup succeeded Scott, who, with small 
numbers and inadequate supplies, had less than thirty 
days for operations. On Jesup, now the double pet 
of the President, who commanded in Florida some 
eighteen or twenty months, and had lavished upon 
him men, means of transportation, and supplies of 
every other kind beyond anything ever known before 
in war, everything depended, with full power to buy 
up all the Indians he could not capture. Success on 
any terms and by any means it being doubly im 
portant to build up the new favorite, as that could 
not fail to give consummation to the blows intend 
ed for Scott. But Jesup, with all those great aids, 
signally failed, when, smitten with remorse, he retract 
ed his charge of dilatoriness, etc. The amende lacked 
a little in fulness, but Scott, in time, forgave. 

Brigadier-General Taylor, who won the battle of 
Okechobee, succeeded Jesup, and was, in time, suc 
ceeded by Brigadier-General Armistead; and, finally, 
in 1842, towards the end of the seventh year of the 



Jackson Moral Heroism. 265 

war, Brigadier-General Worth patched up a sort of 
treaty or agreement with those Indians, under which 
the bands of Sam Jones and Bowlegs were allowed to 
remain and to possess a large tract of their original 
country. 

Scott, who had failed to do that in less than thirty 
days, which, pets and others did not accomplish in 
more than six years, was now to meet before a court 
the unbroken power and popularity of the most re 
markable man on this side of the Atlantic of the 19th 
century. 

Establishing himself in Tennessee, after attaining 
manhood, in a region where civilization was but in 
the dawn, Andrew Jackson had the heroic characteris 
tics suited to that condition. In the frequent strifes 
and conflicts among the settlers, his neighbors, he 
himself at that period also much of a bully, with a 
born talent for command, jumped in between the hos 
tile parties, and at once, by words, silenced the feud, 
or became the partisan of one side and soon subdued 
the other. Elevated to the bench, though unlearned 
in the law, he knew well how to enforce order. A 
bully, in open court, knocked down an opponent. 
Said the judge : " Sheriff, seize that man, and place 
12 



266 Establishes Law and Order. 

him at the bar to receive judgment for his contempt 
of the court." The sheriff soon reported : " May it 
please your honor, the offender is armed and won t let 
me seize him." " Yery well," the judge replied 
" Summon the posse ! " After a time, the sheriff again 
reported : " Sir, the man is on horseback, at the door ; 
I have summoned everybody, and nobody dares to 
touch him." " Summon me, sir ! " was the next order. 
The posse of one (the judge) soon wounded and un 
horsed the offender, helped to take him up bodily, 
placed him at the bar, reascended the bench and pro 
nounced the merited sentence. This certainly was an 
effective way to civilize a rude, wild people to break 
their necks to the necessary yoke of the law. 

His Indian wars were well enough. But, at New 
Orleans, with fearful odds of British troops against 
him, he despaired not of success ; poured his own great 
spirit into all around him ; struck the advancing 
enemy a timely blow in the night of December the 
23d, that paralyzed him for the next sixteen days a 
great gain and then, owing in part to the stupidity 
of attacking strong intrenchments by daylight, won 
the crowning victory of the war. 

In short, such was his antithetical character that 



Aberrations in Florida and New Orleans. 267 

the future philosophic historian will be forced to say 
" "We scarcely can praise it or blame it too much ; " 
for, without the charm of romance to distemper the 
mind, he took possession of a man s wife (whom he 
made his own) and shot another man in a duel, leisure 
ly and with great deliberation, after the latter had lost 
his fire. He invaded Spanish Florida, and took Pen- 
sacola and St. Marks, without a declaration of war by 
Congress, or instructions from the President, as well as 
without necessity ; and then, at the door of the Senate, 
within hearing of many of its members, threatened, on 
their adjournment, to cut off the ears of two principal 
committee men that had condemned his conduct toward 
a nation with whom the United States were at peace. 

And prior to this period, at New Orleans, flushed 
with the great victory of January the 8th, and knowing 
to a certainty, though not officially, that a treaty of 
peace between the United States and Great Britain 
had been signed at Ghent, he imprisoned a Federal 
judge for issuing a writ of habeas corpus in favor of 
one of his (Jackson s) civil prisoners without the least 
color of the tyrant s plea necessity. Yet this eminent 
man, of a double nature, was only immoral in the 
specified instances. In all else he was mild, and tern- 



268 Idolized for Merits and Defects. 

perate except when in passion and even a professor 
of religion, though he entirely ignored the Christian 
injunction, " Let not the sun go down on your wrath." 

It may well be maintained that for his popularity 
with the multitude, he owed fully as much to his de 
merits as to his virtues and splendid services. Every 
where in the deep columns of his supporters the loud 
cry could be heard : Washington was great, ~but Jack 
son is greater ! just as faithful Mussulmans shout at 
every turn : God is great and Mahomet is his prophet ! 
The enthusiasm in behalf of the American also partook 
largely of allegiance bigoted idolatry ; and it may be 
placed to his credit to the bright face of his duality 
that he did not profit by the circumstances, and in 
trench himself for life in the Presidency with remainder 
over to his heirs and assigns. 

Coming up to the executive chair of a great people, 
he was not in the least intoxicated by power; but 
coolly appointed a friend, one of his secretaries, whose 
marriage and its antecedents were exactly like his own, 
and broke up his first cabinet because some of the 
members and their families would not associate with 
the tainted couple. Enveloped in the fumes of the 
pipe, with only the occasional imprecation ~by the eter- 



Cool in Sacrificing Opponents. 269 

ndl ! he cut off the heads of more office-holders than 
all his predecessors put together. And this not in any 
sudden spasm of vindictiveness. The pleasure was 
economized and long drawn out, his partisans hunt 
ing up new victims ; for " increase of appetite had 
grown by what it fed on." 

Lord Byron, in 1809, visited Ali Pacha, of Yanina 
(or Janina), then an old man, and formed quite an in 
timacy with him. Several years later the Pacha, in a 
Latin epistle, told Byron that he had just then taken a 
hostile town, where his mother and sisters had been in 
sulted forty-two years before, and relates as a meritori 
ous action, that he caused to be seized and shot, under 
his eye, every surviving offender, his children, grand 
children, and connections, to the number of six hun 
dred ! Hobhouse, the companion of Byron, describes 
the Pacha as " possessing a pleasing face." Doctor 
Holland, another traveller, compares the spirit that 
lurked beneath Ali s usual exterior to " the fire of a 
stove, burning fiercely under a smooth and polished 
surface." And Gait, writing about the same Turk, 
calls him " That agreeable-mannered tyrant." * 

* Notes to Canto II., Stan. 63, of Child* Harold, and Canto IV., Stan. 
45, of Don Juan. 



270 Scott lefore a Court. 

At length, late in the autumn of 1836, the time for 
the certain condemnation of Scott arrived. The court 
of inquiry consisted of Major-General Macomb, pos 
sessed of many military accomplishments, gentlemanly 
manners, and a generous bias towards the right in sen 
timent and conduct, but not always of absolute proof 
against combinations of audacious power and official 
influence. Atkinson and Brady were walls of adamant 
against all political violence and injustice. Such were 
the three members of the court, with the amiable 
Cooper (the aide-de-camp of Macomb) judge advocate. 

Scott in his address to the court, after the over 
whelming evidence in his favor had been recorded, had 
still to approach the merits of the question with cir 
cumspection ; for the old lion, whose power was yet to 
endure several months, began to growl lest he might 
after all lose his prey. 

It is repeated that Scott approached the merits of 
the case with circumspection : 1. From his great and 
undeviating respect for the constituted authorities of 
his country ; and 2. From the reasonable fear that Gen 
eral Jackson, still President, might in passion dismiss 
the court and the subject of investigation before the 
verdict of honorable acquittal could be recorded. Hence 



His Exordium. 271 

the tone of Scott s address; and lie never employed 
counsel or asked for legal advice in any military con 
troversy. With deep feeling and correspondent solem 
nity he said : 

" Mr. President, and Gentlemen of the Court : 

" When a Doge of Genoa, for some imaginary 
offence, imputed by Louis XI Y., was torn from his gov 
ernment and compelled to visit France, in order to de 
base himself before that inflated monarch, he was asked, 
in the palace, what struck him with the greatest won 
der amid the blaze of magnificence in his view ? To 
find myself here ! was the reply of the indignant Les- 
caro. And so, Mr. President, unable, as I am, to 
remember one blunder in my recent operations, or 
a single duty neglected, I may say, that to find my 
self in the presence of this honorable court, while 
the army I but recently commanded is still in pur 
suit of the enemy, fills me with equal grief and aston 
ishment. 

" And whence this great and humiliating transition ? 
It is, sir, by the fiat of one, who, from his exalted sta 
tion, and yet more from his unequalled popularity, has 
never, with his high displeasure, struck a functionary 



272 Exordium Continued. 

of this Government, no matter what the office of the 
individual, humble or elevated, who was not from the 
moment withered in the general confidence of the 
American people. Yes, sir, it is my misfortune to lie 
under the displeasure of that most distinguished per 
sonage. The President of the United States has said, 
4 Let General Scott be recalled from the command of 
the army in the field, and submit his conduct in the 
Seminole and Creek campaigns to a court for investi 
gation. And lo ! I stand here to vindicate that con 
duct, which must again be judged in the last resort, by 
him who first condemned it without trial or inquiry. 
Be it so. I shall not supplicate this court, nor the 
authority that has to review the f opinion here given. 
On the contrary, I shall proceed at once to challenge 
your justice to render me that honorable discharge from 
all blame or censure which the recorded evidence im 
periously demands. With such discharge before him, 
and enlightened by the same mass of testimony, every 
word of which speaks loudly in my favor, the com- 
mander-in-chief of the army and the navy cannot hesi 
tate; he must acquiesce, and then, although nothing 
may ever compensate me for the deep mortification I 
have been recently made to experience, I may hope to 



Emphatic Acquittal. 273 

regain that portion of the public esteem which it was 
my happiness to enjoy on past occasions of deep mo 
ment to the power and the glory of the United States 
of America." Reported in National Intelligencer. 

After a severe and concise synopsis of the evidence 
by Scott, the court unanimously approved his conduct. 
His plan of the Seminole campaign was pronounced to 
have been " well devised and prosecuted with energy, 
steadiness, and ability," and the court added that, in 
respect to the Creek war, his plan "was well cal 
culated to lead to successful results, and that it was 
prosecuted by him as far as practicable with zeal 
and ability, until recalled from the command." (An 
account of these transactions and most of the events 
in the life of Scott, are given in greater detail and 
terse eloquence in Mansfield s biography of the auto- 
biographer.) 

The emphatic verdict of acquittal in this case, 
openly approved by hosts of his supporters, adminis 
tered to President Jackson the first wholesome re 
buke he had received in that office. He was made 
to feel that it shook the public faith in his suprem 
acy. Hence he did not dare to set aside the well- 
12* 



274: Jackson Shrinks. 

reasoned, solemn acquittal ; nor, would lie faithful 
to his vindictive nature approve the verdict of the 
court ; but left that duty to his successor in the high 
office. 



CHAPTEE XXI. 

HONORS TENDERED BIDDLE FAMILY SPEECH OF R. 

BIDDLE, M. 0., VINDICATING SCOTT JACKSON^ MARTIAL 

LAW HIS DEATH. 

RETURNING to his headquarters, New York, a pub 
lic dinner in honor of his triumph before the court, 
was tendered to the acquitted by a long list of promi 
nent citizens of both parties. The following letter to a 
committee gives the result : 

"NEW YORK, May, 1837. 

" GENTLEMEN : 

" Early last month I accepted the invitation to a 
public dinner, which you and other friends did me the 
honor to tender me. In a few days the commercial 



276 Honors Tendered the Acquitted. 

embarrassments of this great emporium became such 
that I begged the compliment might be indefinitely 
postponed. You, however, were so kind as to hold me 
to iny engagement, and to appoint a day for the meet 
ing, which is now near at hand. In the mean time the 
difficulties in the commercial world have gone on aug 
menting, and many of my friends, here and elsewhere, 
have been whelmed under the general calamity of the 
times. 

" Feeling deeply for the losses and anxieties of all, 
no public honor could now be enjoyed by me. I must, 
therefore, under the circumstances, positively, but most 

4- 

respectfully withdraw my acceptance of your invita 

tion. 

" I have the honor, etc., etc., 

" WINFIELD SCOTT." 

The subscribers to the dinner held a meeting, the 
Hon. Cornelius W. Lawrence in the chair, and unan 
imously passed the following resolutions : 

"Resolved^ That in the decision of General Scott 
to withdraw, for the reason assigned, his acceptance of 
the public dinner designed to testify to him our high 
appreciation, both of his private and public character, 



The Subject m Congress. 277 

we find new evidence of his sympathy with all that 
regards the public welfare, and of his habitual oblivion 
of self, where the feelings and interests of others are 
concerned. 

" Retctocd) That we rejoice with the joy of friends 
in the result, so honorable to General Scott, of the re 
cent court of inquiry, instituted to investigate his mili 
tary conduct as commander-in-chief in Alabama and 
Florida, and that the President of the United States 
(Mr. Yan Buren), in approving its proceedings, acted 
in gratifying unison with the general sentiments of the 
nation." 

Like honors were tendered about the same time 
from a number of other cities, far and near, and all 
declined. 

About to quote a speech on the recent events, just 
narrated, delivered in the House of Representatives, in 
the session of 1837- 8, by Eichard Biddle, of Pittsburg, 
the autobiographer cannot resist the temptation to 
dedicate a few lines to his connection with the remark 
able family of the orator, including the General Thomas 
Cadwallader of the war of 1812- 15, one of them, by 
marriage ; a citizen of the greatest excellence, and like 
them a Federalist, but devoted in public meetings and 



278 The Patriot Family of Biddies. 

associations, and in every other way to the support of 
the war after it was declared. 

Scott s intimacy with the united families com 
menced with Cadwallader, a major-general of militia, 
but most worthy of a like rank in the regular army ; 
next with two brothers, both majors, Thomas and John 
Biddle, who served with Scott in the campaigns of 
1813 and 1814, and were highly distinguished for gal 
lantry, intelligence, and efficiency. At Philadelphia, 
he also became much connected, officially and in so 
ciety, with the venerable father of the two majors, 
the chairman of the Committee of Defence^ who had 
been a leading patriot in the Revolution, and Yice- 
President of Pennsylvania, under the Presidency of Dr. 
Franklin ; with Nicholas Biddle, an elder brother of the 
majors, sometime Secretary to Mr. Monroe, Minister at 
London, and also the same to General Armstrong, 
Minister at Paris, and recognized in both countries as an 
accomplished scholar and linguist, who was, in 1813- 14:, 
a leader in the Pennsylvania Senate, where he carried 
a bill for raising ten thousand regular troops, by con 
scription, at the cost of the State, for the general ser 
vice of the Union, when its treasury was without both 
money and credit. (Virginia and South Carolina had 



Father, Sons, and Grandson Distinguished. 279 

the honor of passing similar bills about the same time.) 
Another brother, the senior of Nicholas, the gallant Com 
modore James Biddle, of the United States Navy, was 
early distinguished in the harbor of Tripoli and other con 
flicts, and crowned his valor and seamanship by the cap 
ture, in the Hornet, 18 guns, of the British sloop-of-war 
Penguin, of about the same force. Richard, the fifth 
and youngest brother, though but a lad, bore arms, 
under General Cadwallader, in 1813, 14, 15, in camps, 
formed on the Delaware, as often as his native city, 
Philadelphia, was threatened by the enemy in the same 
war. He began his profession, as a lawyer, at Pitts- 
burg ; soon became the leader of that bar, and first took 
his seat in the House of Representatives, December, 
1837. Here, in a service of three or four years, he be 
came the most classical and effective debater of his 
time. How painful it is to reflect that not an individual 
named of this remarkable family all intimate friends 
of the autobiographer survives ! One of the family, 
however, standing in the same relation to Scott, 
remains Charles J., son of Nicholas, bre vetted a 
major " for gallant and meritorious conduct at Cha- 
pultepec," Mexico, that is, as the successful leader 
of a storming party; next an eminent member of 



280 Speech of R. Biddle in fcwor of Scott. 

the Philadelphia bar, and recently a member of 
Congress. 

On an appropriation for carrying on the Seminole 
war, in his first session as a member of the House of 
Eepresentatives, Mr. Kichard Biddle said : 

" It would be recollected by all, that after the war 
in Florida had assumed a formidable aspect, Major- 
General Scott was called to the command. An officer 
of his rank and standing was not likely to seek a ser 
vice in which, amidst infinite toil and vexation, there 
would be no opportunity for the display of military 
talent on a scale at all commensurate with that in 
which his past fame had been acquired. Yet he en 
tered on it with the alacrity, zeal, and devotion to 
duty by which he has ever been distinguished. 

" And here (Mr. B. said) he might be permitted to 
advert to the past history of this officer. 

" Sir, when the late General Brown, writing from 
the field of Chippewa, said that General Scott merited 
the highest praises which a grateful country could be 
stow, was there a single bosom throughout this wide 
republic that did not respond to the sentiment ? I for 
one, at least, can never forget the thrill of enthusiasm, 



Speech Continued. 281* 

boy as I then was, which mingled with my own devout 
thankfulness to God, that the cloud which seemed to 
have settled on our arms was at length dispelled. On 
that plain it was established that Americans could be 
trained to meet and to beat, in the open field, without 
breastworks, the regulars of Britain. 

####### 

" Sir, the result of that day was due not merely to 
the gallantry of General Scott upon the field. It must 
in part be ascribed to the patient, anxious, and inde 
fatigable drudgery, the consummate skill as a tactician, 
with which he had labored, night and day, at the camp 
near Buffalo, to prepare his brigade for the career on 
which it was about to enter. 

" After a brief interval he again led that brigade 
to the glorious victory of Bridgewater.* He bears now 
upon his body the wounds of that day. 

" It had ever been the characteristic of this officer 
to seek the post of danger, not to have it thrust upon 
him. In the years preceding that to which I have 
specially referred in 1812 and 1813 the eminent ser 
vices he rendered were in positions which properly be- 

* Niagara or Lundy s Lane three names for the same battle of July 
25, 1814. 



282 Speech Continued. 

longed to others, but into which he was led by irre 
pressible ardor and jealousy of honor. 

" Since the peace with Great Britain, the talents of 
General Scott have ever been at the command of his 
country. His pen and his sword have alike been put 
in requisition to meet the varied exigencies of the ser 
vice. 

"When the difficulties with the Western Indians 
swelled up into importance, General Scott was des 
patched to the scene of hostility. There rose up before 
him then, in the ravages of a frightful pestilence, a 
form of danger infinitely more appalling than the 
perils of the field. How he bore himself in this emer 
gency how faithfully he became the nurse and the 
physician of those from whom terror and loathing had 
driven all other aid, cannot be forgotten by a just and 
grateful country." 

x-****^** 

" Mr. Chairman, I believe that a signal atonement 
to General Scott will, one day, be extorted from the 
justice of this House. We owe it to him ; but we owe 
it still more to the country. What officer can feel se 
cure in the face of that great example of triumphant 
injustice ? Who can place before himself the anticipa- 



Speech Continued. 283 

tion of establishing higher claims upon the gratitude 
of the country than General Scott ? Yet tie was sacri 
ficed. His past services went for nothing. Sir, you 
may raise new regiments, and issue new commissions, 
but you cannot, without such atonement, restore the 
high moral tone which befits the depositaries of the 
national honor. I fondly wish that the highest and 
the lowest in the country s service might be taught to 
regard this House as the jealous guardian of his rights, 
against caprice, or favoritism, or outrage, from what 
ever quarter. I would have him know that, in running 
up the national flag, at the very moment our daily 
labors commence, we do not go through an idle form. 
On whatever distant service he may be sent whether 
urging his way amidst tumbling icebergs, toward the 
pole, or fainting in the unwholesome heats of Florida 
I would enable him, as he looks up to that flag, 
to gather hope and strength. It should impart to 
him a proud feeling of confidence and security. He 
should know that the same emblem of majesty and 
justice floats over the councils of the nation; and 
that in its untarnished lustre we have all a com 
mon interest and a common sympathy. Then, sir, 
and not before, will you have an army or a navy 



284 Martial Law at Home. 

worthy to sustain and to perpetuate the glory of former 
days." 

Before entering on a new administration, disregard 
ing the rigors of chronology, in favor of continuity of 
subjects, the autobiographer adds two more notices of 
General Jackson. The following review was written 
by Scott, pending a discussion in Congress on a bill to 
refund the fine levied by Judge Hall for Jackson s ar 
rest of the judge. 

From the National Intelligencer of January 4, 1843. 

" Martial Law, T>y a Kentuckian fowr Essays, repub- 
lished in the pamphlet form, from the Louisville 
Journal, 1842 ; pp. 14." 

" This timely publication, understood to be from 
the pen of a distinguished ex-judge of the Kentucky 
Court of Appeals,* discusses, with much learning and 
ability, the extraordinary doctrines recently avowed in 
Congress and elsewhere, attributing to a commander 
of an army in the field, the right to proclaim and en- 

* S. S. Nicholas. 



Subject Continued. 285 

force martial law as against citizens (including legis 
lators and judges) wholly unconnected with the mili 
tary service. 

The monstrous proposition avowed has raised the 
indignant voice of a Kentuckian^ and it is only neces 
sary to read him to consign the speeches and writings 
he reviews to the same repository with the passive 
obedience and non-resistance doctrines of the Filmers 
and Hobbses of a former age. 

"With a view to a similar discussion, I had been 
occasionally engaged, for a week, in collecting mate 
rials, when a friend placed in my hands a copy of the 
pamphlet mentioned at the head of this article. Find 
ing it to cover nearly the whole ground I had intended 
to occupy, I shall now confine my humble labors to 
selections from my notes, planting here and there a few 
principles, authorities, and illustrations in such corners 
or blank spaces as a Kentuckian has overlooked. 

In England, the land forces in the public service 
regulars and militia, of whatever name and arm 
are governed by an annual mutiny act, and a sub-code 
called articles of war, made by the king, under the ex 
press authority of the former. The preamble of that 
act always recites : 



286 Subject Continued. 

Whereas, the raising or keeping a standing army 
within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and 
Ireland, unless it be with the consent of Parliament, 
is against law, and, whereas, it is judged necessary by 
his Majesty and his present Parliament that a body of 
forces should be continued for the safety (etc.), and that 
the whole number of such forces should consist of 

thousand men, exclusive of (etc.) ; and, whereas, 

no man can be forejudged of life or limb, or subjected 
to any kind of punishment within this realm, by mar- 
tial law, or in any other manner than by the judgment 
of his peers, and according to the known and estab 
lished laws of the realm ; yet, nevertheless, it being 
requisite for the retaining all the before-mentioned 
forces in their duty, that an exact discipline be ob 
served, and that soldiers who shall mutiny or stir up 
sedition, or shall desert his Majesty s service, be 
brought to a more exemplary and speedy punishment 
than the usual forms of law will allow ; be it therefore 
enacted, etc. (when follow a careful enumeration of 

all the higher crimes which military men can commit 


against discipline ; that is, against good order and sub 
ordination in an army. At the end of each enumer 
ation, the act declares that every officer or soldier so 



Subject Continued. 287 

offending shall suffer death, or such other punish 
ment as by a court martial shall be awarded. ) 

The articles of war are entirely subordinate to 
the mutiny act, and originate nothing but certain 
smaller details for the "better government of the forces. 

It is in view of the high principles of civil liberty, 
consecrated by Parliament as above, that Tytler, for a 
long time Judge Advocate of Scotland, says in his 
Essay on Military Law : c Martial Law was utterly 
disclaimed as binding the subjects in general. The 
modern British soldier, enjoying in common with his 
fellow subjects, every benefit of the laws of his coun 
try, is bound by the military code solely to the observ 
ance of the peculiar duties of his profession? And so 
Lord Loughborough, Chief Justice of the Common 
Pleas (soon after as Earl of Roslin, Lord High Chan 
cellor), said, in Trinity Term, 1792, on a motion on 
behalf of Sergeant Grant : * Martial Law, such as it is 
described by Hale, and such also as it is marked by Sir 
William Blackstone, does not exist in England at all. 5 
He gives examples, in the way of distinction between 
Great Britain and continental Europe, as also between 
military persons and others at home, thus: In the 
reign of King William there was a conspiracy against 



288 Subject Continued. 

his person in Holland. The persons guilty of that con 
spiracy were tried by a council of officers. There was 
a conspiracy against his person in England ; but the 
conspirators were tried by the common law. There 
fore (adds the Chief Justice), it is totally inaccurate to 
state martial law as haying any place whatever within 
the realm of Great Britain, as against subjects not in 
the line of military duty. But (he continues), an army 
is established in this country (etc.) ; it is an indispen 
sable requisite (etc.), that there should be order and 
discipline (etc.) ; that the persons composing it should, 
for all offences in their military capacity, be subject to 
a trial by their officers. Ty tier s Essay, with this opin 
ion of Lord Loughborough, given in a note at length, 
was published in the last century, and was in the hands 
of our officers, generally, before the "War of 1812. 

There is in the Encyclopaedia Britannica an ex 
cellent popular view, given by an eminent lawyer, ol 
the same general question : 

Military, or martial law, is that branch of the 
laws of war which respect military discipline, or the 
government and control of persons employed in the 
operation of war. Military law is not exclusive of the 
common law ; for a man, by becoming a soldier, does 



Subject Continued. 289 

not cease to be a citizen, or member of the common 
wealth. He is a citizen still, capable of performing 
the duties of a subject, and answerable in the ordinary 
course of law, for his conduct in that capacity (as mur 
der, theft, and other felonies). Martial law is, there 
fore, a system of rule superadded to the common law 
for regulating the citizen in his character of a soldier? 

Notwithstanding those conservative views, long 
embodied in the laws and public opinion of England, 
which hold in utter abhorrence the application of mar 
tial law to any person not at the time in the military 
service, one general, and many eminent statesmen and 
public writers are found on this side of the Atlantic, 
who ignorantly suppose that that law, described and 
stigmatized by Hale and Blackstone as in truth and 
reality no law, but something indulged rather than 
allowed as law, is a part of the common law in these 
States, because mentioned in those great common-law 
writers, and therefore an engine which every command 
er of an army in the field may indulge himself with, at 
his own wanton discretion, against the free citizens of 
republican America ! 

Is there anything in our statute book to warrant 
a conception so monstrous ? 
13 



290 Subject Continued. 

We have no mutiny act, so called. Our rules 
and articles for the Government of the armies of the 
United States were borrowed from that act and the 
British articles of war (in part), July 30, 1775, before 
the Declaration of Independence. The code was en 
larged by the old Congress from the same sources, 
September 20, 1776. In this form it was enacted by 
the first Congress under the Constitution; and again 
reenacted, substantially the same, April 10, 1806, as it 
stands at present. The act consists of but three sec 
tions. The first declares : { The following shall be the 
rules and articles by which the armies of the United 
States shall be governed ; and gives one hundred and 
one articles. Each article is confined, in express terms, 
to the persons composing the army. The next the 
celebrated second section contains the only exception ; 
and what an exception ! It is in these words : 

4 In time of war, all persons not citizens of, or 
owing allegiance to, the United States of America, 
who shall be found lurking, as spies, in or about the 
fortifications or encampments of the armies of the 
United States, or any of them, shall suffer death, ac 
cording to the law and usage of nations, by sentence 
of a general court martial. 



Subject Continued. 291 

c Not citizens, because if citizens, and found so 
; lurking, the crime would be that of treason ad 
hering to [our] enemies, giving them aid and comfort ; 
and is so defined by the Constitution. 

The third, or remaining section of our military 
code, merely repeals the previous act, which adopted 
the resolves of the old Congress for governing the 
army. 

There is nothing, then, in this code to give the 
slightest pretence that any part of it can, by possibility, 
be applied to citizens not attached to an army. 

A Kentuckian further argues against such barba 
rian application, from the silence of the Constitution. 
But, in a matter so infinitely important to the existence 
of free government and our civil liberties, the Constitu 
tion is not silent. The fifth amendment expressly de 
clares : i ~No person shall be held to answer for a capi 
tal or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a present 
ment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases 
arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia 
when in actual service, in time of war or public danger. 9 
(The militia, by the previous article 1, section 8, can 
only be called out to execute the laws of the Union, 
suppress insurrections, and repel invasions. ) And the 



292 Subject Continued. 

6th amendment is to the same effect : In all criminal 
prosecutions (the exception of military persons, as 
above, being understood) the accused shall enjoy the 
right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial /wry. 
(Military courts always deliberate in secrecy?) 

If these amendments do not expressly secure the 
citizen, not belonging to an army, from the possibility 
of being dragged before a council of war or court 
martial, for any crime, or on any pretence whatsoever, 
then there can be no security for any human right un 
der human institutions ! 

Congress and the President could not, if they were 
unanimous, proclaim martial law over any portion of 
the United States, without firs^ throwing those amend 
ments into the fire. And if Mr. President Madison 
(begging pardon of his memory for the violent suppo 
sition) had sent an order to General Jackson to estab 
lish the odious code over the citizens of New Orleans 
during, before, or after the siege of that capital, it 
would have been the duty of the general, under his 
oath to obey the Constitution, to have withheld obedi 
ence ; for, by the 9th article of war (the only one on or 
ders), officers are not required to obey any but lawful 
commands. 



Subject Continued. 293 

General Jackson f took the responsibility with 
as little of necessity, or even utility, as of law. In this 
he stands distinguished from every American command 
er from the Declaration of Independence down to the 
present day. The Constitution not the writ of habeas 
corpus merely being suspended, he imprisoned Mr. 
Louallier ; he imprisoned the Federal Judge (Hall) for 
issuing a writ of habeas corpus to inquire into the cause 
of that imprisonment ; and he imprisoned the United 
States District Attorney (Dick) for seeking to procure 
from a State judge a writ of Iwibeas corpus for the 
Federal judge. Mr. Louallier, a citizen of the United 
States (by the treaty of Louisiana), a highly respectable 
member of the State Senate, and in no way connected 
with the army, was put on trial for his life, before a 
court martial, on five several imaginary charges. One 
of these was for leing a spy, under the second section, 
given above ! "Whatever may be our astonishment at 
the fact that a court of American officers should have 
proceeded, under illegal orders, to try such a prisoner 
on such charges, they saved themselves and the country 
from that last of degradations the finding the prisoner 
guilty because accused by the commanding general. 
Mr. Louallier was acquitted. 



294: Subject Continued. 

When Pompey played the petty tyrant at Sicily, 
as the lieutenant of that master-despot Sylla, he sum 
moned before him the Mamertines. That people re 
fused to appear, alleging that they stood excused by 
an ancient privilege granted them by the Romans. 
What ! said Sylla s lieutenant ; c will you never have 
done with citing laws and privileges to men who wear 
swords ! Koman liberty had already been lost in the 
distemperature of the times. Inter arma silent leges 
found its way into our young republic in the thirty- 
ninth year of its existence. 

If Pompey had gained the battle of Pharsalia, 
would his odious reply to the Mamertines have been 
forgiven by the lovers of law and of human liberty ? 
With such maxims of government, it was of little con 
sequence to the Roman world that Ceesar won the day. 
A Yerres would have been as good as either. 

For the glorious defence of New Orleans, Con 
gress voted thanks and a gold medal to the hen;. 
That measure of justice was short at both ends. Cen 
sure and a monument should have been added. 

That all soldiers in our republic do not concur in 
the maxims above reprobated, a striking example lies 
before me. In the gejieral regulations for the army, 



Subordination to Civil Authority. 95 

drawn up in 1825 by one of our officers [Scott] and 
cheerfully obeyed T>y all, we have this head : /Subordi 
nation to the civil authorities / and under it, the fol 
lowing : 

4 Kespect and obedience to the civil authorities of 
the land is the chity of all citizens, and more particular 
ly of those who are armed in the public service. 

4 An individual officer or soldier who resists the 
civil authority, will do so at his peril, as in the case of 
any other citizen ; but union or concert between two 
or more military men in such resistance, whether vol 
untary or by order, would be a much more serioub 
offence, and is, therefore, positively prohibited. 

f A civil officer charged with the execution of civil 
process will, on making known his character, be freely 
permitted to pass and repass all guards and sentinels. 

4 In the case of cri?ninal process, issued by the civil 
authority against military persons, all officers are ex 
pressly required by the 33d article of war to give active 
aid and assistance. 

This article of war is too remarkable to be omit 
ted here. Like the mutiny act of England, it speaks 
of 4 the known laws of the land, in contradistinction 
and as superior to the martial code. Under it, Gen- 



296 Subject Continued. 

eial Jackson s own officers were bound to aid in causing 
the writ of habeas corpus to be executed against him, 
as also in executing the precept for his appearance 
before the judge, if he had refused to appear, and to 
submit to the sentence of the court. The article is a 
part of the law of Congress and of the Constitution, 
being enacted in strict pursuance to the latter. 

c Article 33. When any commissioned officer or 
soldier shall be accused of a capital crime or of having 
used violence, or committed any offence against the per 
sons or property of any citizen of any of the United 
States, such as is punishable by the known laws of the 
land, the commanding officer and officers of every regi 
ment, troop or company, to which the persons so ac 
cused shall belong, are hereby required, upon applica 
tion duly made by, or in behalf of, the party or parties 
injured, to use their utmost endeavors to deliver over 
such accused person or persons to the civil magistrate, 
and likewise to be aiding and assisting to the officers of 
justice in apprehending and securing the person or 
persons so accused, in order to bring him or them to 
trial. If any commanding officer or officers shall wil 
fully neglect, or shall refuse, upon the application afore 
said, to deliver over such accused person or persons, to 



Subject Continued. 297 

the civil magistrates, or to be aiding and assisting to 
the officers of justice, in apprehending such person or 
persons, the officer or officers so offending shall be 
cashiered. 

This rule and article for the government of the 
armies of the United States, is as old, on the statute 
book, as our glorious Revolution of 1776, and as old in 
England (whence we borrowed it) as the glorious Revo 
lution which drove out James II. and his martial law.* 
It is expressed in the very spirit of the Anglo-Saxon 
race ever jealous of liberty. Under this safeguard 
with spirited citizens, independent judges, and obedi 
ent soldiers, taught their duties to the civil authorities 
what military officer dare to suspend the Constitu 
tion, or the writ of habeas corpus, or to imprison citi 
zens each a capital crime or an act of gross violence ? 

A. Kentuckian has cited, from most of the State 
constitutions, express provisions placing the military, 
at all times and under all circumstances, in strict sub 
ordination to the civil authority. In South Carolina, 
during the Revolutionary "War, at the moment that 
Sir Henry Clinton was investing the devoted city of 

* Martial law as applied to persons not of the army has been unknown 
in England since that great event. 

13* 



298 Subject Continued. 

Charleston, and the Tories were in arms everywhere, 
the Legislature of the State empowered her excellent 
Governor, John Rutledge, after consulting with such 
of his counsel as he conveniently could, to do every 
thing necessary for the public good, except the taking 
away the life of a citizen without legal trial? Under 
that exception, at a time when there was no Constitu 
tion of the United States, to shield the liberty and the 
life of the citizen, there was no Louallier deprived of 
one and put in jeopardy of the other, by martial law. 

It is vulgarly supposed, particularly by those who, 
* dressed in a little brief authority, and lust for more, 
that the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus lets in 
upon the citizen martial law. The suspension by Con 
gress would, certainly, for the time, enable power to 
hold any citizen incarcerated without cause, and with 
out trial ; but, if brought to trial, it must still be before 
one of the ordinary courts of the land. In the suspen 
sion by martial law, as in continental Europe, all other 
writs, remedies, and rights which might stand in the 
way of power, according to its own arbitrary will, would 
be suspended at the same time. Tyrannic rule could 
want nothing more. 

It is a curious fact that this writ has been but 



Wilkinson and Jackson for Martial Law. 29y 

twice practically suspended (by Generals Wilkinson 
and Jackson) in both instances at New Orleans, and 
never once, constitutionally, anywhere in the United 
States since the Declaration of Independence. The 
Constitution declares that the privileges of the writ 
of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, 
in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may 
require it, in the opinion of Congress. 

During Burr s conspiracy, Mr. Giles, in the Sen 
ate, upon a message from the President, introduced a 
bill for a three months suspension of that great writ. 
It was, in a panic, immediately passed, and sent to the 
House, January 26, 1807. The House, all on the same 
day (January 26% refused to deliberate in secrecy ; and, 
on the question, c Shall the bill be rejected ? the votes 
stood ayes, 113 ; noes, 19 ; a great triumph of civil 
liberty over panic and outlawry ! 

This is the only constitutional attempt at suspend 
ing the writ of habeas corpus ever made in free Amer 
ica. May we never hear of another in Congress or 
elsewhere ! 

A SOLDIER OF ONE WAE." 

It has been seen that the autobiographer, being in 



300 Scott Announces the Death of Jackson. 

Paris, got up, under very extraordinary circumstances 
(see above, p. 166), the first celebration of the 8th of 
January the anniversary of the great defence of New 
Orleans. So, being President of the Board of West 
Point visitors, in June, 1845, news came to him, while 
a class was under examination, which caused him to 
make this short address : " Major Delafield, Superin 
tendent. I suspend the further labors of this examina 
tion till to : morrow, in honor of an event interesting to 
all Americans. A great man has fallen among us. 
ANDREW JACKSON, after filling the world with his fame, 
and crowning his country with glory, departed this life 
on the 8th instant. It is not for any authority inferior 
to the President, to prescribe the special honors to be 
paid to the illustrious dead by the military posts and 
troops of the United States. No doubt, orders on the 
subject will soon arrive from Washington." And so 
ended Scott s relations with the hero of New Orleans. 



CHAPTEK XXII. 

PRESIDENT VAN BUREN FINE TEMPER CANADIAN AGI 
TATIONS BURNING OF THE CAROLINE SCOTT SENT 

TO THE FRONTIER THE TURMOIL QUIETED SCOTT 

SENT TO REMOVE THE CHEROKEES. 

MR. YAJST BUREN succeeded to the presidency. 
With a very respectable degree of moral firmness, all 
his other qualities were in happy contrast with those 
of his predecessor. 

Few men have ever suffered less wear and tear of 
body and mind from irascible emotions. Hume, in 
his unique autobiography, says of himself: "I am, or 
rather was " (for being at the end of life, " emboldens 
me the more to speak my sentiments) ; I was, I say, 



302 President Van Buren. 

a man of mild disposition, of command of temper, of 
an open, social, and cheerful humor, capable of attach 
ment, but little susceptible of enmity, and of great 
moderation in all my passions," which advantages he, 
some pages before, puts down as of more worth than 
" to be born to an estate of ten thousand a year." 

According to this mode of estimation, Mr. Yan 
Buren, throughout a long life, was a millionaire. He 
entered on the presidency with right intentions toward 
his country and all mankind, and with the needful gifts 
and abilities to make an excellent practical administra 
tor of the Executive Department only that from the 
sense of gratitude to General Jackson, he felt himself 
obliged to work with (one exception) the old cabinet, 
consisting of members he never would have selected for 
himself; and, in the second place, he retained a little 
of his early and only weakness an inclination toward 
the expedient more than either of the Catos, a Hanip- 
den, or Roland would have approved. 

The autobiographer became early in the War of 
1812- 15 acquainted with Mr. Yan Buren, an ac 
quaintance that soon ran into intimacy and friendship ; 
and he believes he was the first to suggest that, with 
his advantageous standpoint, it would be easy for the 



Scotffs Early Intimacy with Him. 303 

rising JS"ew Yorker to make himself the President of 

. 

the United States. That friendship was cooled down 
suspended, for many years Mr. Yan Buren taking 
an active part in behalf of Mr. Crawford, for the presi 
dency, in the election of 1824, and Scott, though stand 
ing aloof, being, in his open tp&faf, on the side of Mr. 
Adams. The separation continued through the con 
test that elected General Harrison to the presidency in 
1840. The social courtesies, however, between the par 
ties, as often as they chanced to meet, remained all the 
while unchanged. 

As soon as elected to the presidency (November, 
1836), Mr. Yan Buren, highly approved of his son s 
(Major Abrain Yan Buren) wish, to join Scott, then 
before the court of inquiry at Frederick, on the ground 
that he might be needed as a witness on certain points 
only known, as he (the major) supposed, to himself, 
while a volunteer aide-de-camp to Scott, in the Semi- 
nole war. Indeed, for the same delicate reason, the 
major had declined, some months before, against a 
strong inclination, to make the tour of Europe, al 
though he and Scott (through wrongs of third parties) 
were not, at the time, on speaking terms ; and further, 
although Scott had given assurances that he could, by 



304: His Son Aide-de-Oamp. 

circumstantial evidence, dispense with the major s pres 
ence. 

His arrival, however, was of great value as a volun 
teer secretary ; for Scott had been without any one of 
his staff (two regular aids) from the beginning of the 
court. Major William de Peyster, of New York, and 
for some time planter in Florida, had marched with 
Scott from Tampa Bay as a volunteer aid, and tendered 
him good assistance as an amanuensis at Frederick. 

A word more on this subject may be pardoned 
the autobiographer. Major Yan Buren, as paymaster, 
made the campaign of Mexico with Scott, and although 
encumbered with a military chest, containing money 
and vouchers, amounting to millions, he never failed, 
at the first gun, to hasten, mounted, to Scott, as a vol 
unteer aid, and gallantly rode through every battle, a 
bearer of orders, with his accustomed quiet smile and 
amiability. The lieutenant-colonelcy given him at the 
end of this war was the inadequate reward of such 
heroism. 

President Yan Buren, while in office, never omitted 
on proper occasions, to show kindness to Scott, and it 
gives the latter great pleasure to add, that the ancient 
friendship between the parties became revived some 



Canadian Patriots Agitators. 305 

twenty years before the death of the former and con 
tinued up to that event. 

In the winter of 1837- 8, a singular disturbance 
broke out on the lake and northern frontiers of the 
Union. A number of radicals, in the Canadas, had, a 
little earlier, begun to agitate in favor of certain revo 
lutionary changes, with an eye, on the part of many, 
toward ultimate annexation to the United States. 
The heat of the strife soon crossed the frontiers and 
extended, in many directions, to the depth of forty and 
sixty miles into the United States. More than two 
hundred thousand Americans took the infection, or 
ganized themselves into lodges, bound by oath to 
secrecy, and ridiculously enough, without ever having 
been in Canada, or knowing anything about the merits 
of the question, called themselves Canadian Patriots ! 
eager to invade the Provinces and fight for their 
rights ! ! Here was another of " the cankers of a calm 
world and a long peace." 

A circumstance soon occurred that exasperated to a 
high degree the frontier population on the American 
side from Lake Michigan to the borders of New Hamp 
shire. A. mauvais sujet^ calling himself Colonel Van 
Rensselaer (no relation of the patroons), a dismissed 



306 Burning of the Caroline. 

cadet from the Military Academy, had organized a 
number of those Americans whose patriotism was in a 
foreign country, and taken possession of a small Brit 
ish island called Navy Island, opposite to Schlosser, on 
the American side, about a mile and a quarter above 
the Niagara Falls. Here, after the Canadian people 
the militia themselves had, without regulars, sup 
pressed an attempted revolt in that neighborhood 
Yan Kensselaer hopelessly awaited events. A little 
steamer, the Caroline, came down, December 29, to 
serve as a ferry boat between the island and Schlosser, 
and made fast for the night to the wharf of the latter. 
Before morning an expedition, under a Mr. McLeod, 
was fitted out from the Canada side, which shirked the 
British island, where it might easily have captured the 
patriot camp, and seized, by surprise, the steamer; 
killed several persons on board; set her on fire, and 
sent her adrift over the cataract as it was erroneously 
believed, for a time with wounded Americans in her 
hold. This was a clear violation of neutrality, involv 
ing murder, which outrages caused all along the fron 
tiers, a very general cry for war by, or without au 
thority. 

The news reached "Washington late in the day of 



Scott Despatched to the Niagara. 307 

January 4, 1838. It so happened that President Yan 
Buren had invited to dine with him, the same evening, 
Mr. Clay and a large number (nineteen) Whig friends, 
with three or four Democrats. The autobiographer 
was one of the former. All had arrived, and the ap 
pointed hour had long gone by, but still the President 
was absent. He, it became known, after a time, was 
in council with his cabinet. The Whigs jestingly in 
quired of the Democrats if the President had abdicated 
or was about to resign. All were equally ignorant, 
merry, and hungry. At length the master of the 
feast came down, and whispered the news to Mr. Clay 
and Scott saying to the latter : " Blood has been 
shed ; you must go with all speed to the Niagara fron 
tier. The Secretary of War (Mr. Poinsett) is now en 
gaged in writing your instructions." 

The circumstances, as already known, were suffi 
ciently critical, and private letters represented that 
there was reason to apprehend the city of Buffalo 
might be seized, perhaps, sacked, by the outraged 
Canadians, to break up the hotbed of the patriots and 
destroy their depots. 

Passing through Albany, and not knowing what 
number of the militia he might have occasion to call 



308 Frontier Men want to Invade Canada. 

for, Scott, at his own suggestion, prevailed on Gov 
ernor Marcy and the adjutant-general of the State 
(McDonald) to accompany him to the scene of difficul 
ties, so that no time might be lost by a correspondence 
between Federal and State authorities three hundred 
and fifty miles apart. 

There were no regular troops on the Niagara 
They were all in Florida, or on the Western frontiers. 
Journeying through New York, Scott had ordered to 
follow him several detachments of army recruits. To 
supply the needed physical force, he had ample powers 
to call for the uninfected militia of the Border States, 
including Western Virginia and Kentucky. 

1. All this was quite a new scene for Scott. In 
1812, 13, 14 he had appeared on the same theatre as 
the leader of battalions and participator in victories. 
Now, rhetoric and diplomacy were to be his principal 
weapons, his countrymen and friends the objects of 
conquest, and a little correspondence with the British 
authorities beyond the line, as an episode to the whole. 
Had Scott not been a soldier, though he had been the 
famed Athenian orator or the American 

" Henry, the forest-born Demosthenes, 
Whose thunders shook the Philip of the seas," 



The Agitators Difficult to Restrain. 309 

his entreaties and harangues would have been wholly 
lost upon his hearers. But the memory of other days 
gave to hiin an influence which he would have sought 
in vain without it. The soldier of 1812, 13, 14, reap 
pearing near the scene of his former activity, drew 
forth the applause of listening multitudes. 

2. During the winter of 1838 and that of 1838- 9, 
he was busy in exercising his influence for peace, and 
in quieting the disturbed frontiers. This was his em 
ployment for many months of the coldest season of each 
year. The patriot movements were chiefly confined to 
the season of frost, which, bridging with ice some of 
the waters separating the two countries, greatly favored 
descents upon Upper Canada. Scott was ably second 
ed in watching and counteracting those movements by 
distinguished officers. General Brady, on Lake Erie 
and the Detroit frontier, General "Worth (made General 
1842) on the Niagara, Lake Ontario, and St. Lawrence 
frontier, and Generals Wool and Eustis on the northern 
side of New York and Vermont, were active in aiding 
Scott in his arrangements, and pacifying the borderers. 
The troops, both regulars and volunteers, proved to 
be steady supporters of law and order, and were held 
everywhere ready, as posses^ at the call of the United 



310 Subject Continued. 

States marshals and collectors. The army officers men 
tioned were the district commanders. 

3. Scott posted himself nowhere, but was by turns 
rapidly everywhere, and always in the midst of the 
greater difficulties. In these winter campaigns against 
the trespassers of the borders, he passed frequently 
along the frontier, sometimes on the Detroit and some 
times on the north line of Yermont. His journeyings 
were made by land, and principally in the night; 
oftentimes with the cold from ten to twenty degrees 
below freezing point. Daylight he chiefly employed 
in organizing the means of counteraction by an exten 
sive correspondence and the labors of direct pacifica 
tion. He obtained, and pressed upon Federal district 
attorneys, marshals, and collectors, information of the 
designs and movements of the patriots, and tendered 
to those civil functionaries the aid of the troops. In 
performance of his duty as a peacemaker, he addressed, 
on a line of eight hundred miles, immense gatherings 
of citizens, principally organized sympathizers, who 
had their arms at hand. 

4. In these addresses he declaimed with fervor, and 
they were often received with the loud applause of the 
audience. He handled every topic which could inspire 



Subject Continued. 311 

shame in misdoers, or excite pride in the friends of the 
Government and country. His speeches were made 
with popular illustrations and allusions, and addressed 
both to the knowledge and the sentiment of the people. 
He reminded them of the nature of a republic, which 
can have no foundation of permanency except in the 
general intelligence, virtue, respect, and obedience of 
its people ; that if, in the attempt to force on unwilling 
neighbors independence and free institutions, we had 
first to spurn and trample under foot treaty stipulations 
and laws made *by our own representatives, we should 
greatly hazard free institutions at home in the confi 
dence and respect of our own people ; that no govern 
ment can or ought to exist for a moment after losing 
the power of executing its obligations to foreign coun 
tries, and of enforcing its own laws at home ; that that 
power depended in a republic chiefly on the people 
themselves ; that we had a treaty with England, bind 
ing us to the strictest observance of amity, or all the 
duties of good neighborhood with adjoining provinces, 
and also an act of Congress for enforcing those solemn 
obligations ; that the treaty and the laws were as bind 
ing on the honor and the conscience of every American 
freeman, as if he had specially voted for each ; that this 



312 Subject Continued. 

doctrine was of the very essence of a civilized republic, 
as the neglect of it could not fail to sink us into anarchy, 
barbarism, and universal contempt ; that an aggressive 
war, waged by a part of the community, without just 
cause and without preparation, as is common among 
barbarian tribes, necessarily drags the non-consenting 
many along with the madness of the few, involving all 
alike in crime, disaster, and disgrace ; that a war, to 
be successful, must be very differently commenced; 
and in these addresses he often concluded : " Fellow- 
citizens, and I thank God, we have a common gov 
ernment as well as a common origin, I stand before 
you without troops and without arms, save the blade 
by my side. I am, therefore, within your power. 
Some of you have known me in other scenes, and all 
of you know that I am ready to do what my country 
and what duty demands. I tell you, then, except it be 
over my body, you shall not pass this line you shall 
not embark." 

5. To the inquiry everywhere heard, u But what 
say you of the burning of the Caroline, and the murder 
of citizens at our own shore ? " 

6. In reply to these questions, Scott always frankly 
admitted that these acts constituted a national outrage, 



Subject Continued. 313 

and that they called for explanation and satisfaction ; 
but that this whole subject was in the hands of the 
President, the official organ of the country, specially 
chosen by the people for national purposes ; that there 
was no doubt the President would make the proper 
demand, and failing to obtain satisfaction, would lay 
the whole matter before Congress the representative 
of the public will, and next to the people, the tribunal 
before which the ultimate appeal must be made. 

Y. These harangues were applauded, and were gen 
erally very successful. Masses of patriots broke off and 
returned to their respective homes, declaring, that if 
Scott had been accompanied by an army they would 
not have listened, but have fought him. The friends 
of order were also encouraged to come out in support 
of authority, and at length peace and quiet were re 
stored. 

8. In the first winter, one of those incidents oc 
curred which make history dramatic, and which illus 
trate how much depends on individual men and single 
events. Many days after the destruction of the " Caro 
line," another steamer, the " Barcelona," was cut out 
of the ice in Buffalo Harbor (January, 1838), and taken 
down the Niagara River, to be offered, as was known, 
14 



814: Subject Continued. 

to the patriots, who were still on Navy Island.* Seott 
wished to compel them to abandon their criminal en 
terprise. He also desired to have them, on returning 
within our jurisdiction, arrested by the marshal, who 
was always with him. For this purpose, he sent an 
agent to hire the Barcelona for the service of the United 
States, before the patriots could get the means to pay 
for her, or find sureties to indemnify the owners in case 
of capture or destruction by the British. He succeeded 
in all these objects. The Barcelona proceeded back to 
Buffalo, where Scott had immediate use for her on Lake 
Erie, yet navigable in all its length. The authorities 
on the Canada side were on the alert to destroy her. 

9. As the Barcelona slowly ascended against the 
current on our side of Grand Island (belonging to the 
United States), three armed British schooners, besides 
batteries on the land, were in position, as the day be 
fore, to sink her as she came out from behind that 
island. On the 16th of January, Scott and Governor 
Marcy stood on the American shore opposite that point, 
watching events. The smoke of the approaching boat 
could be seen in the distance, and the purpose of the 
British was perfectly evident in all their movements. 

* 53 Niles s Register, 337. 



Conflict of Arms Imminent. 315 

The batteries on our side were promptly put in posi 
tion. The matches were lighted. All was ready to 
return the British fire. There was a crisis ! 

10. The day before this, when it was supposed the 
Navy Island people were coming up the same channel 
in other craft, and before it was known that the Barce 
lona had accepted his offered engagement, Scott wrote 
on his knee, and despatched by an aide-de-camp, the 
following note : 



To the Commanding Officer of the Armed British 
Vessels in the Niagara. 

HEADQUARTERS, EASTERN DIVISION ) 
U. S. ARMY, TWO MILES BELOW > 
BLACK ROCK, January 15, 1838 ) 

11. SIR: 

With his excellency the Governor of New York, 
who has troops at hand,* we are here to enforce the 
neutrality of the United States, and to protect our own 
soil or waters from violation. The proper civil officers 

* These men were, in strictness, not yet under Scott s command, sim 
ply from the want of time to muster them into the service of the United 
States a ceremony of some hours. 



316 Conflict Imminent. 

are also present to arrest, if practicable, the leaders of 
the expedition on foot against Upper Canada. 

12. Under these circumstances, it gives me pain 
to perceive the armed vessels, mentioned, anchored in 
our waters, with the probable intention to fire upon 
that expedition moving in the same waters. 

13. Unless the expedition should first attack in 
which case we shall interfere we shall be obliged to 
consider a discharge of shot or shell from or into our 
waters, from the armed schooners of her Majesty, as an 
act seriously compromising the neutrality of the two 
nations. I hope, therefore, that no such unpleasant 
incident may occur. 

I have the honor to remain, etc., etc., 

WINFIELD SCOTT. 

14. The same intimation was repeated and explained 
the next morning, January 16th, to a captain of the 
British army, who had occasion to wait upon Scott on 
other business, and who immediately returned. It was 
just then that the Barcelona moved up the current of 
the Niagara. The cannon on either shore were point 
ed, the matches lighted, and thousands stood in sus 
pense. On the jutting pier of Black Kock, in view of 



The Frontiers Quieted Change of Duty. 317 

all, stood the tall form of Scott, in full uniform, watch 
ing the approaching boat. On Scott s note and his 
personal assurances, alone depended the question of 
PEACE or WAR. Happily, these assurances had their 
just effect. The Barcelona passed along. The British 
did not fire. The matches were extinguished, and the 
two nations, gnided by wise counsels, resumed their 
nsual way. 

(The fourteen numbered paragraphs immediately 
preceding, are quoted, omitting complimentary epi 
thets, almost literally from Mansfield s Life and Services 
of the autobiographer, from whose copious notes omit 
ting those epithets of the partial editor they had been 
copied, including the quotation from Byron.) 

The frontiers being for the time quieted by the 
means narrated, by the thaw of the spring, and the re 
turn of the farming season of industry, Scott was called 
to Washington and ordered thence to the Southwest 
charged with the delicate duty of removing the Chero 
kee Indians, under certain treaty stipulations, to their 
new country on the upper Arkansas River. This work 
unavoidably fell upon the military, and with carte 
llanche, from President Yan Buren, under his sign 
manual Mr. Secretary Poinsett being very ill Scott 



318 Removal of Cherokee Indians. 

undertook the painful duty with the firm resolve that 
it should be done judiciously, if possible, and, certainly, 
in mercy. 

The number of volunteers called for by Scott s pre 
decessor (Colonel Lindsay) in that special command, 
independent of a few regulars, was overwhelming. 
Hence resistance on the part of the Indians would 
have been madness. The Cherokees were an interest 
ing people the greater number Christians, and many 
as civilized as their neighbors of the white race. Be 
tween the two colors intermarriages had been frequent. 
They occupied a contiguous territory healthy moun 
tains, valleys, and plains lying in North Carolina, 
Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. Most of their lead 
ing men had received good educations, and possessed 
much ability. Some were quite wealthy in cultivated 
farms, good houses, cattle of every kind, and negro 
slaves. Gardens and orchards were seen everywhere, 
and the women graceful, with, in many cases, added 
beauty. Of course the mixed races are here particular 
ly alluded to. The mountaineers were still wild men, 
but little on this side of their primordial condition. 

The North Carolinians and Tennesseans were kind 
ly disposed toward their red brethren. The Alabami- 



Subject Continued. 319 

ans much less so. The great difficulty was with the 
Georgians (more than half the army), between whom 
and the Cherokees there had been feuds and wars for 
many generations. The reciprocal hatred of the two 
races was probably never surpassed. Almost every 
Georgian, on leaving home, as well as after arrival at 
New Echota, the centre of the most populous district 
of the Indian territory vowed never to return with 
out having killed at least one Indian. This ferocious 
language was the more remarkable as the great body 
of these citizens perhaps, seven in ten were profes 
sors of religion. The Methodist, Baptist, and other 
ministers of the Gospel of Mercy, had been extensive 
ly abroad among them ; but the hereditary animosity 



alluded to caused the Georgians to forget, or, at least, 
to deny, that a Cherokee was a human being. It was, 
however, to that general religious feeling which Scott 
had witnessed in the Georgia troops, both in Florida 
and on the Chattahoochee in 1836, that he now meant 
to appeal, and on which he placed his hopes of avoid 
ing murder and other atrocities. And as will be seen 
that blessed sentiment responded. 

The autobiographer arrived at the Cherokee Agency, 
a small village on the Hiawassee, within the edge of 



320 Subject Continued. 

Tennessee, early in May, 1838, and published the sub 
joined addresses to the troops and Indians. Both were 
printed at the neighboring village, Athens, and to 
show singleness of feeling and policy, the two papers 
were very extensively circulated together, among all 
concerned. 



Extracts from General Orders, or the Address to the 
Troops. 

HEADQUARTERS, EASTERN DIVISION, > 
CHEROKEE AGENCY, May 17, 1838. \ 

Considering the number and temper of the mass 
to be removed, together with the extent and fastnesses 
of the country occupied, it will readily occur that sim 
ple indiscretions, acts of harshness and cruelty on the 
part of our troops may lead, step by step, to delays, to 
impatience, and exasperation, and, in the end, to a gen 
eral war and carnage a result, in the case of these par 
ticular Indians, utterly abhorrent to the generous sym 
pathies of the whole American people. Every possible 
kindness, compatible with the necessity of removal, 
must, therefore, be shown by the troops ; and if, in the 
ranks, a despicable individual should be found capable 



Subject Continued. 321 

of inflicting a wanton injury or. insult on any Cherokee 
man, woman, or child, it is hereby made the special 
duty of the nearest good officer or man instantly to 
interpose, and to seize and consign the guilty wretch 
to the severest penalty of the laws. The major-general 
is fully persuaded that this injunction will not be neg 
lected by the brave men under his command, who can 
not be otherwise than jealous of their own honor and 
that of their country. 

" By early and persevering acts of kindness and 
humanity, it is impossible to doubt that the Indians 
may soon be induced to confide in the army, and, in 
stead of fleeing to mountains and forests, flock to us for 
food and clothing. If, however, through false appre 
hensions, individuals, or a party here and there, should 
seek to hide themselves, they must be pursued and in 
vited to surrender, but not fired upon, unless they 
should make a stand to resist. Even in such cases, 
mild remedies may sometimes better succeed than vio 
lence ; and it cannot be doubted, if we get possession 
of the women and children first, or first capture the 
men, that, in either case, the outstanding members of 
the same families will readily come in on the assurance 

of forgiveness and kind treatment. 
14* 



322 Subject Continued. 

" Every captured man, as well as all who surrender 
themselves, must be disarmed, with the assurance that 
their weapons will be carefully preserved and restored 
at, or beyond the Mississippi. In either case, the men 
will be guarded and escorted, except it may be where 
their women and children are safely secured as hosta 
ges ; but, in general, families in our possession will not 
be separated, unless it be to send men, as runners, to 
invite others to come in. 

" It may happen that Indians will be found too sick, 
in the opinion of the nearest surgeon, to be removed to 
one of the depots indicated above. In every such case, 
one or more of the family or the friends of the sick 
person will be left in attendance, with ample subsist 
ence and remedies, and the remainder of the family 
removed by the troops. Infants, superannuated per 
sons, lunatics, and women in helpless condition, will 
all, in the removal, require peculiar attention, which 
the brave and humane will seek to adapt to the neces 
sities of the several cases." 



Subject Continued. 323 



"MAJOR -GENERAL SCOTT, of the United 
States Army, sends to the Cherokee people remain 
ing in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and 
Alabama this 

ADDRESS. 

" Cherokees : The President of the United States 
has sent me, with a powerful army, to cause you, in 
obedience to the treaty of 1835, to join that part of 
your people who are already established in prosperity 
on the other side of the Mississippi. Unhappily, the 
two years which were allowed for the purpose, you 
have suffered to pass away without following, and with 
out making any preparation to follow, and now, or by 
the time that this solemn address shall reach your dis 
tant settlements, the emigration must be commenced in 
haste, but, I hope, without disorder. I have no power, 
by granting a farther delay, to correct the error that 
you. have committed. The full moon of May is already 
on the wane, and before another shall have passed 
away, every Cherokee man, woman, and child, in those 
States, must be in motion to join their brethren in the 
far West. 



324 Subject Continued. 

" My friends This is no sudden determination on 
the part of the President, whom you and I must now 
obey. By the treaty, the emigration was to have been 
completed on or before the 23d of this month, and the 
President has constantly kept you warned, during the 
two years allowed, through all his officers and agents 
in this country, that the treaty would be enforced. 

" I am come to carry out that determination. My 
troops already occupy many positions in the country 
that you are to abandon, and thousands and thousands 
are approaching from every quarter, to render resist 
ance and escape alike hopeless. All those troops, regu 
lar and militia, are your friends. Receive them and 
confide in them as such. Obey them when they tell 
you that you can . remain no longer in this country. 
Soldiers are as kind-hearted as brave, and the desire of 
every one of us is to execute our painful duty in mercy. 
"We are commanded by the President to act toward you 
in that spirit, and such is also the wish of the whole 
people of America. 

" Chiefs, head men, and warriors "Will you then, 
by resistance, compel us to resort to arms ? God for 
bid ! Or will you, by flight, seek to hide yourselves in 
mountains and forests, and thus oblige us to hunt you 



Subject Continued. 325 

down ? Remember that, in pursuit, it may be impossi 
ble to avoid conflicts. The blood of the white man, or 
the blood of the red man, may be spilt, and if spilt, 
however accidentally, it may be impossible for the dis 
creet and humane among you, or among us, to prevent 
a general war and carnage. Think of this, my Chero 
kee brethren ! I am an old warrior, and have been 
present at many a scene of slaughter ; but spare me, I 
beseech you, the horror of witnessing the destruction 
of the Cherokees. 

" Do not, I invite you, even wait for the close ap 
proach of the troops ; but make such preparations for 
emigration as you can, and hasten to this place, to 
Ross s Landing, or to Gunter s Landing, where you 
will all be received in kindness by officers selected for 
the purpose. You will find food for all, and clothing 
for the destitute, at either of those places, and thence 
at your ease, and in comfort, be transported to your 
new homes according to the terms of the treaty. 

" This is the address of a warrior to warriors. May 
his entreaties be kindly received, and may the God of 
both prosper the Americans and Cherokees, and preserve 
them long in peace and friendship with each other. 

"WLNTIELD SCOTT." 



326 Subject Continued. 

There was some delay in bringing in the mountain 
eers of North Carolina ; but most of the people residing 
in Tennessee and Alabama were readily collected for 
emigration. Scott remained with the Georgians, and 
followed up his printed addresses by innumerable les 
sons and entreaties. 

The latter troops commenced in their own State the 
collection of the Indians, with their movable effects, 
May 26. Scott looked on in painful anxiety. Food 
in abundance had been provided at the depots, and 
wagons accompanied every detachment of troops. The 
Georgians distinguished themselves by their humanity 
and tenderness. Before the first night thousands 
men, women, and children sick and well were brought 
in. Poor creatures ! They had obstinately refused to 
prepare for the removal. Many arrived half-starved, 
but refused the food that was pressed upon them. At 
length, the children, with less pride, gave way, and 
next their parents. The Georgians were the waiters 
on the occasion many of them with flowing tears. 
The autobiographer has never witnessed a scene of 
deeper pathos. 

Some cheerfulness, after awhile, began to show it 
self, when, counting noses, one family found that a 



Subject Continued. 327 

child, another an aged aunt, etc., had been left 
behind. Instantly dozens of the volunteers asked for 
wagons, or saddle horses, with guides, to bring in the 
missing. 

In a few days, without shedding a drop of blood, 
the Indians, with the exception of small fragments, 
were collected those of North Carolina, Georgia, and 
Tennessee, at the Agency, in a camp twelve miles by 
four ; well shaded, watered with perennial springs, and 
flanked by the Hiawassee. The locale was happily 
chosen, as a most distressing drought of some four 
months counting from about the middle of June 
came upon the whole Southwestern country, that 
stopped any movement to the "West till November; 
for the Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas Rivers 
ceased to be navigable by the beginning of July ; and 
on the land route, to the Arkansas, there were many 
spaces of twenty, forty, and even sixty miles, without 
sufficient water for the inhabitants and their cattle. 
The other camps of emigration were also shaded and 
watered. Scott caused the few sick to be well attended 
by good physicians; all proper subjects to be vacci 
nated ; rode through the principal camp almost daily, 
and having placed the emigration in the hands of the 



328 Subject Continued. 

Cherokee authorities themselves after winning the 
confidence of all was at liberty, at an early day, to 
the great benefit of the treasury, to send all the volun 
teers to their respective homes, except a single com 
pany. A regiment of regulars, to meet contingencies, 
was also retained. Two others were despatched to 
Florida and the Canada frontiers. The company of 
volunteers (Tennesseeans) were a body of respectable 
citizens, and under their judicious commander, Captain 
Robertson, of great value as a police force. The Chero- 
kees were receiving from Government immense sums ; 
as fast as decreed by a civil commission (then in ses 
sion) in the way of damages and indemnities, which 
attracted swarms of gamblers, sleight-of-hand men, 
blacklegs, and other desperadoes. The camp was kept 
cleansed of all such vermin by the military police a 
duty which, probably, would have been resisted if it 
had devolved on regular troops. 

At length, late in October rain began to fall and 
the rivulets to flow. In a week or two, the rivers were 
again navigable. All were prepared for the exodus. 
Power had said : 

" There lies your way, due West." 



Westward, ho! 329 

And a whole people now responded : 

" Then Westward ho ! " 

They took their way, if not rejoicing, at least in 
comfort. 

" Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon." 

Many of the miseries of life they had experienced; 
but hope a worldly, as well as a Christian s hope, 
cheered them on. Scott followed up the movement 
nearly to the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi, 
where he gave his parting blessing to a people who 
had long shared his affectionate cares. He has reason 
to believe that, on the whole, their condition has been 
improved by transportation. 

In the foregoing labor of necessity executed, it is 
felt, in mercy the autobiographer was well supported 
by his Acting Inspector-General, Major M. M. Payne 
(subsequently Colonel), who, if living (January, 1864), 
is somewhere in Virginia, bedridden, from a wound re 
ceived in one of General Taylor s battles on this side 
of the Rio Grande; by Captain Robert Anderson, 
Assistant Adjutant-General, since the hero of Fort 
Sumter, and a Brigadier-General of the army ; by Lieu- 



330 End of the Emigration. 

tenant E. D. Keyes, Aide-de-Camp, now Major-General 
United States Volunteers ; Lieutenant Francis Taylor, 
of the Commissariat, now long deceased; Captains 
Page and Hetzel, Quartermasters; Lieutenant H. L. 
Scott, since Aide-de-Camp and Inspector-General, then 
of the United States 4th Infantry, and by Major H. B. 
Shaw, Extra Aide-de-Camp, Tennessee Volunteers, 
since a distinguished member of the Louisiana bar, re 
siding in Corcordia and Natchez besides Colonel Wil 
liam Lindsay, 2d Artillery, and Colonel William S. 
Poster, 4th Infantry. Colonel I. B. Crane, 1st Artil 
lery, participated handsomely in the same service. 



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